Cities across Washington County are primed to ignite their annual Independence Day celebrations with picnics, carnivals, running races, parades and, of course, fireworks. Here is a roundup of local events:
Forest Lake bills itself the “Fourth of July Capital of the Upper Midwest,” and will be among Washington County communities renewing its traditional celebration this week. In 2010, Christelle Mba, then 8, was captivated by the spectacle, which she enjoyed watching with her mother, Menyi Mba.
All roads in and out of the city will be closed from 11:45 a.m. to about 1 p.m. to clear the way for the 116th annual parade, which starts at noon. The route runs down Afton’s main street and then doubles back to the starting point (this is the rare parade you can see twice in the same day). An off-site bus shuttle from the Lakeland Plaza parking lot will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Cost is $3. Music, beer and food will be available in Town Square Park until 3 p.m. Live music will be provided by the Zingrays from 1-3 p.m.
The Cottage Grove Lions will host the family-friendly celebration at Kingston Park, Indian Boulevard and 75th Street. Activities begin at 6:30 p.m. and will run through the evening. Brats, hot dogs and other food will be available for sale. Fireworks begin at dusk.
Billing itself the “Fourth of July Capital of the Upper Midwest,” Forest Lake’s celebration gets a two-day head start on Wednesday, July 2, at Lakeside Park at East Broadway Avenue off Lake Street. The celebration, put on by American Legion Post 225, gets rolling with the opening of a carnival at 3 p.m. that runs through the weekend. Bingo will be played from 6 p.m. to midnight, with live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The parade will be at 10 a.m. on July 4 with fireworks at 10 p.m. The full schedule is at www.ci.forest-lake.mn.us.
Marine on St. Croix
Marine also gets a jump on things Thursday night, July 3, with fireworks at dusk. A kiddie parade down Main Street is scheduled for noon the next day, followed by the annual All Town Fourth of July parade. Two road races on Friday begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. at Hay Lake School, 14020 195th St. N. Proceeds benefit the Marine on St. Croix Restoration Society. The 2- and 4-mile races begin at 9:15 a.m. For details, go to marineonstcroix.zapevent.com.
Festivities start at 4 p.m. at Walton Park at 15th Street and Hadley Avenue. A variety of food vendors will be on hand, and the Rockin’ Hollywoods will take the stage at 7 p.m. and play until 10 p.m. The fireworks show will begin immediately after the concert. Admission is free.
A day of live music and entertainment in downtown Stillwater will be followed by fireworks over the river beginning at 10 p.m. at Lowell Park, 101 Water St. N., with music simulcast on KBBL (1220AM).
Big changes in Woodbury this year: After years of being held at Ojibway Park, the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks is moving to Bielenberg Sports Center, south of Bailey Road and east of Radio Drive, adjacent to East Ridge High School.
This year’s celebration will kick off at 7 p.m. with musical entertainment featuring Maiden Dixie, a country rock band. The fireworks will be launched at 10 p.m. from the white fields, located on the east side of the ice arenas and fieldhouse. The band will be staged on the south side of the East Ridge High School tennis courts.
All activities are free. Concessions and glow necklaces will be sold on site beginning at 6 p.m.
The move from Ojibway Park was planned to showcase the newly expanded and renovated sports center, but the grand opening — featuring facility tours and free activities in the ice rinks and fieldhouse — has been rescheduled for Sept. 20, said Bob Klatt, Parks and Recreation director.
Parking is available at the sports center and high school. No parking is allowed on Bailey Road or Radio Drive.