Nothing says Independence Day like fireworks, and there will be plenty of places to see bombs burst in air over Washington County as the nation celebrates its 236th birthday on Wednesday. Many celebrations include parades, festivals and family activities. Here is a roundup of some of the area's events.
The city proclaims itself the "Fourth of July Capital of the Upper Midwest," and it would be hard to disagree since the community has marked the occasion with revelry for 88 years. This year, the fun started Friday and continues through Wednesday with what is believed to be the largest Independence Day parade in the metro area. Bands, floats and ensembles will make their way down Broadway and Lake Street starting at 10 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony at noon. Ed Hinrichs, 90, of Forest Lake, a World War II Army Air Forces veteran, will be the grand marshal. Fireworks will explode over Forest Lake at 10 p.m. Concerts, carnival rides, cookouts and bingo will run Sunday through Wednesday at the American Legion Post, 355 W. Broadway. For information call 651-464-2600 or go to www.startribune.com/a1404.
Don't want to wait until Wednesday to see pyrotechnics? Go to the finale of Booster Days on Sunday. Activities include a hot dog eating contest, concerts by Farewell Milwaukee and Devon Worley, and fireworks over the St. Croix River at dusk.
Perhaps the most scenic place to catch the color is on the terrace of the Stillwater Public Library. That's where KSTP-TV news anchor Bill Lunn will emcee the annual Light a Spark from 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday. Guests can sample desserts, beer and wine from area eateries and take in entertainment by Kailen the Dynamic DJ and Matt the Magician before fireworks go skyward over the St. Croix River town. The event is a benefit for the Stillwater library's programs and collections. Tickets are $30, $20 for ages 5 to 12. Call 651-275-4338 for information. There is no charge to watch the city-sponsored fireworks, which will be simulcast on KLBB (1220 AM).
White Bear Lake
Manitou Days, the civic celebration in White Bear Lake, wraps up Wednesday with a concert by Shoreview Northern Lights Variety Band at 8 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. at Memorial Beach, off County Road 96 near Pacific Avenue.
MyMuse and TyM (Josh Tollefson and Tyler Metkowski) and the Inside Out Band will provide pre-fireworks tunes starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ojibway Park, 2695 Ojibway Drive.
The sky over Richard Walton Park at 1584 Hadley Avenue will be awash with color at 10 p.m. Wednesday. The Rockin' Hollywoods will play from 7 to 10 p.m.
Marine on St. Croix
It will be fireworks first in Marine on St. Croix. Folks there will shoot them off at 10 p.m. Tuesday, then party on Wednesday with a 2- and 4-mile race at Hay Lake School at 9:15 a.m. and the annual July 4th Parade on Main Street when the noon whistle blows.
There will be fireworks at dusk Wednesday at Kingston Park, 75th Street and S. Indian Blvd.
There are no fireworks, but there is plenty of fun to be had downtown. Afton's July 4 Parade begins at noon, starting at the Afton Marina. Games and concessions begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Zingrays play from 1 to 3 p.m. in the city park. Free shuttle buses will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Valley Baptist Church, 860 St. Croix Trail.
Tim Harlow 651-925-5039 Twitter: @timstrib