Coon Rapids’ annual July 4th bash is moving to a new location this year, and organizers are promising double the parking, more space to mingle and a bigger and more colorful fireworks display.
The three-day, Thursday-Saturday civic celebration featuring live music, midway rides and games, a beanbag tournament and fireworks on the Fourth will now take place on the grounds of the Coon Rapids Ice Center at 11000 Crooked Lake Blvd. The former site — Sand Creek Park — is undergoing a multimillion-dollar remodel this summer, necessitating the move.
The July 2 parade route has also changed, now starting at 6 p.m. on Mississippi Boulevard near Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
“It’s going to be amazing. I am very excited to present this festival to our community this year in our new location,” said organizer Diane Buszta, with the North Star Lions
“Change is really hard for people, but I think the community will be really happy with what we are doing with this location.”
This isn’t intended to be a one-time switch, either.
“The plan is for it to be permanently moved,” Coon Rapids Recreation Coordinator Ryan Gunderson said. “It’s more roomy, and there is a lot more parking. Sand Creek was in more of a residential area, and there was only one road in and out.”
Said Tim Himmer, Coon Rapids public works director: “From a logistics and parking prospective, we have a much better scenario.”
The festival is a partnership among the North Star Lions, the Coon Rapids Fire Social Group and the Coon Rapids Community Strength Foundation. City Hall staff is involved more because of the relocation efforts.
The fireworks display has attracted roughly 20,000 spectators in recent years. At the new site, organizers have eliminated the ground display, funneling all the “oohs” and “aahs” toward aerial pyrotechnics.
“People don’t have to be close. We are going to shoot them up bigger and better — larger and higher in the sky,” Himmer said.
Festival organizers will spend $35,000 on fireworks this year vs. $27,500 last year, Coon Rapids Fire Inspector Shannon Moen said. A Coon Rapids firefighter who is a licensed pyrotechnician coordinates the display, Moen said.
Thursday’s parade features the Coon Rapid High School Band and the Brooklyn Park Lions Drum and Bugle Corps, among others.
For the third year, festivities include a “Car Show to Remember: Hot Rods & Classics.” That takes place on Friday.
This year, Lions concession stands will serve pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers and hot dogs. For the first time, bartenders will pour regular beer vs. 3.2 percent beer, Buszta said.