A brief guide to a socially distanced Independence Day in Minnesota

Aquatennial fireworks 2016
Aquatennial fireworks show in Minneapolis from 2016.
Paul Huttner | MPR News

The pandemic has canceled much of summer fun this year, but Independence Day doesn’t have to change completely. Many community events and fireworks are still taking place across Minnesota — in a pandemic-safe way.

There are, however, a few things you should keep in mind before enjoying the July Fourth festivities and a family reunion this weekend. State health officials are asking Minnesotans to celebrate this holiday weekend outdoors, rather than indoors, to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus. If you feel sick, it’s better to opt out of the festivities and seek a COVID-19 test.

If people ease up on social distancing and safety measures over the holiday, it could cause new infections to rise, officials warned earlier this week.

Another warning about this July Fourth: State firefighters are asking Minnesotans to be careful with any personal fireworks celebrations you are planning to have one.

State Fire Marshal Jim Smith encourages creative and safe alternatives for celebrating Independence Day to prevent injuries.

“The past few months have been stressful for us all and we know people want to celebrate the Fourth of July,” Smith said. “But fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable. We need Minnesotans to be safe, not sorry.”

And don’t forget: Flying or exploding fireworks are illegal in Minnesota. And even legal fireworks like sparklers can still be dangerous, Smith said.

Some more safety tips from the marshal:

  • Use fireworks responsibly, especially around children.

  • Keep fireworks far from property and crowds.

  • Use a long lighter designed for a gas grill to light fireworks.

  • Soak used fireworks in water then leave outside overnight before discarding in the trash.

  • Don’t try to relight a dud.

Communities with fireworks events

Hoping to get some fresh air while celebrating the Fourth of July? While some communities have decided to forgo their usual festivities this year, here are a few planned festivities that you can join:

Brainerd

Madden’s resort will host fireworks over Gull Lake at dusk on July 4. The show can be seen from East Gull Lake Airport, but there’s not a lot of space available.

Bemidji

Bemidji’s Red, White and Boom Fireworks show will begin at dusk on Saturday over Lake Bemidji, and will be live streamed on the Bemidji Jaycees Facebook page.

Big Lake

Fireworks are set for 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 from Big Lake High School. The Big Lake Police Department said the display should be visible from throughout the community. All other events scheduled have been canceled.

Cambridge

Cambridge will host its fireworks show from the Isanti County Fairgrounds starting around 9:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Cannon Falls

The Cannon Valley Fair and Fourth of July Parade were canceled due to the “stay safe” executive order, but on Friday and Saturday there will be food trucks and vendors, a beer garden hosted by the American Legion Post, and fireworks on Saturday at dusk.

Chanhassen 

A number of the traditional events from Chanhassen have been canceled, but a historic plane flyover at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and fireworks at 10 p.m. are still on the calendar.

Chaska

Chaska will still host fireworks July 4 at McKnight Park over Lake Jonathan, and the city encourages those who attend to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Edina

The city will host a virtual parade with clips from community and entertainment groups. You can watch it on Comcast channel 15-16 at 10 a.m. or on the city’s YouTube channel or Facebook page. You can also compete in a red, white and blue photo contest. Find more details here.

Faribault

Faribault will host its fireworks at a new location this summer, at the Rice County Fairgrounds Grandstand track. The fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. and viewers are strongly encouraged to remain in their car.

Forest Lake

Rather than host its annual Fourth of July parade, Forest Lake’s parade committee is asking the community to submit photos and videos to recognize community heroes, which will be shared on the community’s Fourth of July Celebration Facebook page. Find more details here.

Grand Marais

Fireworks will launch over Grand Marais Harbor on Lake Superior starting at 10 p.m. Visit Cook County reminds participants to practice social distancing while enjoying the show.

Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids moved this year’s fireworks show to neighboring Chasset at Portage Park, which has 200 vehicle parking stalls and street access from multiple directions, along with water access viewing from nearby lakes and the Mississippi River.

Lakeville

This year’s show in Lakeville will start Saturday at 10 p.m. from King Park, but the city asks people to stay at home and watch from a distance. The park will be closed for safety.

Luverne

Fireworks at 10 p.m. on Saturday at The Lake public park, located at 815 W Edgehill. Access to the park will be controlled and visitors are expected to maintain social distance.

Moorhead

Fireworks are planned from Horizon Park at Saturday 10 p.m. The Moorhead Business Association encourages viewers to watch the show from home or inside their vehicles from public parking lots.

North Branch

The North Branch Fire Department will launch fireworks off of Falcon Avenue, south of Fairview and west of the outlet mall Saturday at 10 p.m. The fire department asks that viewers watch from cars at Shops at Gateway North, North Branch County Market or Cartfull parking lots.

Owatonna

The fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Steele County Free Fair, but no viewing from the grandstands.

Park Rapids

The Park Rapids Rotary Club will host this year’s fireworks, but they ask participants to follow social distancing guidelines and enjoy the program from throughout the community, rather than gather in Heartland Park.

Red Wing

There will be a fireworks show hosted by Mississippi Alumination along the banks of the Mississippi River at dusk on Saturday, which can be seen from one of many area parks or downtown.

St. Cloud

A brief fireworks show will be launched from an unnamed location at 10 p.m. Saturday. There will also be a daytime aircraft flyover salute for the area, and a virtual “best-of” fireworks show available online. Residents are encouraged to view the display from their own homes and backyards.

St. Paul

The St. Paul Saints will host a movie at 7 p.m. Friday, July 3 on the video board in left-center field, followed by a fireworks celebration. Tickets for the event are $15.

Spicer

Spicer will host fireworks at Saulsbury Beach at dusk on Saturday, but the city will also host a boat parade on Green Lake at 10 a.m. The town also has a red, white and blue decorating event that started June 21.

Walker

Fireworks on Walker Bay of Leech Lake are scheduled for Saturday at 10 p.m. Find out more at the event’s Facebook Page.


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