Seward, Nebraska’s “Fourth of July Celebration” Recognized as the Top Nebraska Festival 2021

It’s official-the Seward, Nebraska 2021 Fourth of July Celebration was named the TOP Festival/Event in Nebraska for 2021 by the State of Nebraska Department of Tourism and the Nebraska Tourism Commission. The Award was announced at the Nebraska State Tourism Conference in Grand Island, Ne on October 21, 2021 at the annual Tourism Awards Banquet. The award was presented by State Director of Tourism John Ricks and State Tourism Commission Chair Roger Jasnoch of Kearney. Longtime volunteer and leader of the Seward Fourth of July Committee, Clark Kolterman accepted the award on behalf of the all-volunteer Seward Fourth of July Celebration Committee and Community of Seward. Also attending the State Tourism Conference was Jeanne Wiemer, Pat Coldiorn, Gerry Meyer and Mary Meyer.

The award was presented to a community with an outstanding festival or event with a population of less than 9,999. Winning the same award in the large community division was Lincoln and the Lancaster County’s hosting of the High School Rodeo in 2021.

John Ricks-State Tourism Director stated “The Outstanding Nebraska Festival or Event Award was presented to the Seward Fourth of July 2021 Celebration because- since 1868, the community of Seward has honored and celebrated the anniversary of the United States of America’s founding with a special Fourth of July Celebration. In 2021, Seward, “Nebraska’s Fourth of July City,” celebrated its 152nd annual event, after a virtual celebration the previous year due to COVID-19. The Seward Fourth of July Celebration has drawn over 50,000 people to the daylong event, resulting in a large economic impact for the community and creating a strong pride base.”

“We are thrilled with the award and thank all who made this July Fourth Festival and all the previous festivals a success. This year’s 2021 festival had the perfect theme-“Made in America,” saluting Hughes Brothers Inc.’s Centennial year—thanking and honoring the Hughes Family,” commented Clark Kolterman, Seward Fourth of July Celebration Committee representive. “Our celebration is an all-volunteer year round effort to bring a family event to Seward and Nebraska each year. It is a special award this year, as we had to bounce back after COVID-19 and produce an award winning event. It was a total community effort and the award goes to the community and the volunteer committee members.”

“We need to also thank the Seward County Independent, who assisted with the Fourth of July’s Entry for the Awards Contest and to Jean Kolterman-the Seward Fourth of July Committee’s Corresponding Secretary, who coordinated the scrapbook and entry forms for the award,” stated Gerry Meyer, representing the Nebraska National Guard Museum on the July Fourth Committee. “I know is not the first time Seward has won this title, as they won the award six years ago at the State Tourism Conference in Columbus, but after the craziness of these last couple of years-it is sweet to have the trophy and recognition again in Seward.

The etched glass award, signed by Governor Pete Ricketts is on display at the Seward Civic Center in the West Fireplace Room at the present time, for all to enjoy.

“Thank you all for helping Seward achieve this award, as our celebration takes a community, working together to achieve a successful event, year after year,” stated Jessica Kolterman, Recording Secretary with the Seward Fourth of July Celebration. “We are anxious to continue the tradition and invited other members of the community to join in our celebration leadership, chairmanships and volunteer to help organize and plan the 2022 Seward Fourth of July Celebration. For example, we are in need of a set of co-chair couples or couple to lead the Seward Fourth of July Trolley System for 2022. Please join us at our next Fourth of July Celebration Committee meeting on Tuesday, October 26th at 7:00 pm in the West Fireplace Room. We look forward to creating even a bigger and better event in 2022 with your help!”

Seward’s first Fourth of July was held on July 4, 1968, shortly after Seward was organized in 1867. The men had dug a well in the town square they decided to have a community Fourth of July Celebration, complete with speeches and music. The speeches and music were presented on July 4, 1868 standing on the mound of dirt created by digging the well on the square. A special US Flag was created and displayed by the ladies of the area and is still on display today, at the Seward County Historical Society Museum in Goehner, NE.

The Seward Fourth of July Celebration became “Nebraska’s Official Fourth of July Celebration” on March 27th, 1973 with a special proclamation by Governor James J. Exon and was named “America’s Fourth of July Celebration –Small Town USA” in a Congressional resolution in 1979 by Senator Ed Zorinsky in the US Congress and by former member of the US House of Representative and current Governor at the time, Charles Thone.

The Seward Fourth of July Celebration Committee is a 501-C-3, nonprofit organization and works to create and sponsor an annual Fourth of July Celebration in Seward. It is an all-volunteer organization, and usually meets the Third Thursday of the Month. For more information contact Clark Kolterman at or call him at 402-641-6522.

This Award Winning Event Features...

Grand Parade
Grand Parade
The grand parade kicks off at 4:00 and travels west down Seward street through the heart of downtown.
National Guard Museum
National Guard Museum
Dedication of new Nebraska National Guard Museum exhibits will take place at 9:00 a.m. on July 4th.
Car Show
Car Show
View a wide variety of antique, classic and newer cars, trucks & motorcycles at the annual Car Show.
Fireworks Display
Fireworks Display
A free, giant fireworks extravaganza is held at Plum Creek Park at 10:00 p.m.
Craft Show
Craft Show
"Crafts on the Square” is one of Nebraska’s Best Handmade Craft Shows and takes place in the courthouse lawn from 9:00 – 4:00.
Live Entertainment
Live Entertainment
The Seward Bandshell is busy on July 4th with live music, dancers and cloggers, contests and more! View the full schedule of events!

And Even More! Including...

Food Alley

Free Movies at the Rivoli Theater

Humanities Presentations/Lectures

Patriotic Programs

Children’s Games

Freedom Run


Aerobatic Airplane Show

Miscellaneous Market

Tourist Family

Pet Parade/Contest

Pole Vault Competition

Historic Exhibits

Walking Tour of Downtown

Art Shows


Quilt Lectures/Talks

Cloggers and Dancers

Holiday Lights Downtown

Horseshoe Contest


Apple Pie Eating Contest

Band Concerts

Used Book Sale

Special Seward County Independent

Quilt Exhibit


Anvil Firing

Prayer Service

Grand Concert in Plum Creek Park

Children’s Festival

Rotary Club Royalty


Pictorial Postal Cancellation

Guest Register

Jazzercise/Aerobics Exhibition

Family Shows/Concerts

Hosted by Connect Seward County