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Rock the Dock may move to Voyageur Park


DE PERE – Next August, De Pere could be the setting for the fifth annual Rock the Dock event.
The De Pere board of park commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rental of Voyageur Park for the festival Aug. 19, 2023.

Drones, robots, music, a S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) experience, car and motorcycle show, 13 bands on three stages and more is on the docket.

The event started in 2019 in downtown Green Bay, was held virtually in 2020, and returned to CityDeck the past two years.

Park Commissioner Randy Soquet said he could envision some people being put off by Voyageur being closed to the public for an entire day.

“There could be a sense of loss,” he said.

Marty Kosobucki, director of De Pere’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, said it would have less of an impact than the three-day Celebrate De Pere.

“They (Celebrate De Pere) lock the park out to the public for five days,” Kosobucki said. “This (Rock the Dock) is a one-day, fast-and-furious music festival, you know, a mini-me of Celebrate De Pere.”

He said for somebody who would want to go to the Riverwalk that day, “nothing’s holding them back.”

Around 30,000 people attended the 2022 Rock the Dock at the Green Bay CityDeck, according to organizer Dawn Paradiso-Hansen.

Kosobucki estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 people attend the three-day Celebrate De Pere at Voyageur Park, albeit not at one time.

Paradiso-Hansen, who is director of Compassionate Home Health Care in Appleton, said the event is their largest fundraiser, and it provides hygiene products to those in need.

She said the festival isn’t just a music festival or a beer festival.

“It will have something for everybody,” she said.

Beside the usual bouncy houses and balloon animals, it will have opportunities for kids to learn about science, design, engineering, and other fields.

“The idea was that our youth are going to be the generation that takes care of us, hopefully, and I want them to be inspired when they come to the festival,” Paradiso-Hansen said.

She said she would invite architectural and engineering firms to be involved and give kids the chance to work with robots or be pit-crew members for the drone team.

“I want them to think, ‘I could be a design engineer,’ or CAD engineer or other skill profession,” she said.
Hansen said they’re taking the nearby condos into consideration when planning where to station the three music stages and the type of music that will perform on each.

Approval recommended for future pavilion layout
In other business, the park commissioners voted to accept the final conceptual design and cost estimate of the future Nelson Family Pavilion at Voyageur Park.

The indoor layout includes a large multi-purpose room with indoor seating, storage space for outdoor equipment and nine bathroom stalls.

Outside will be a patio with tables overlooking the river.

The project is estimated to cost just over $1.45 million.

The family of David and Rita Nelson donated $500,000 toward the pavilion.

In other business, the park commissioners voted unanimously to:

• Accept a donation from De Pere Baseball for diamond improvements to Gandrud Field at Southwest Park. The baseball organization wants to have the infield resurfaced at a cost of $10,968.

• Approve colors for new playground equipment to be purchased for Kelly Danen Park. Last spring, First Congregational Church donated up to $100,000 toward playground equipment for the park.

• Donate one family pool pass to the grand winner of the 2023 Snowman Photo Contest.

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