Independence Day is a day of reflection and celebration, and residents marking the nation's 236th birthday will have plenty of opportunities to wave the flag on Wednesday. Here are highlights of a few observances in west metro communities; for more on the fireworks shows throughout the Twin Cities, go to startribune.com/fireworks.
Edina's July 4th parade is the city's biggest community event of the year. It starts at 10 a.m. behind City Hall at 4801 W. 50th St., and ends at the U.S. Bank parking lot at 50th Street and Halifax Avenue. The parade features marching bands, veterans and community organizations. The city's celebration lasts all day and ends in Rosland Park with an 8:45 p.m. concert by the First John Phillip Sousa Band followed by fireworks around 10 p.m.
A few years ago, complaints that marchers affiliated with political groups and candidates were taking over the parade led to restrictions on the number of marchers that could accompany a candidate or a float. Parade rules now limit marchers with candidates and officeholders to 10 people and a single vehicle or float. Political party units are limited to 50 people and a vehicle or float. The concern was that too many people slowed down the flow of the parade, a city spokesperson said.
For more information about Edina's Independence Day celebration, go to www.startribune.com/a1454.
In Excelsior, the Lake Minnetonka July 4th celebration is the largest event the South Lake-Excelsior Chamber of Commerce puts on all year, and it is growing. Besides fireworks, a kids' parade and performances by local bands and the Minnesota Orchestra, this year's event will have a new aerobatic demonstration at 8 p.m. Wednesday over Gideon and Excelsior bays. "We haven't cut back at all ever," said chamber director Linda Murrell, adding that the event has been going on since the late 1800s. "We don't want to be the ones to break the tradition." Funded by individuals, business sponsors and five area cities, the celebration is expected to draw more than 15,000 people, plus countless boats on the bays. For more, go to www.startribune.com/a1457.
Richfield's parade and fireworks is part of a six-day July 4th festival. This year's 10 p.m. fireworks display at Veterans Memorial Park is expanding from about 18 minutes to 30 minutes because of increased donations to the event, said Andrew Seffrood, vice president of the planning committee. Best Buy helps support the celebration, but small donations, including from button sales, pay for most of the fireworks, Seffrood said.
At 11 a.m. at the park, there's a carnival and at 1 p.m. a parade from E. 70th Street and Nicollet to E. 66th Street and 11th Avenue S. will feature 85 units including marching bands, princesses, veterans groups, unicyclists and clowns.
More information and a parade route map is available at: richfield4thofjuly.com.
Chanhassen will have its usual fireworks display at Lake Ann at 10 p.m. on July 4th. City officials said the city is spending about the same amount of money as it has in previous years, so there are no significant changes. The Chanhassen Rotary Club sponsors a July 4th parade at 2:30 p.m. It allows politicians to participate and either walk or ride in the parade, as long as they register beforehand, like any organization. More information: www.startribune.com/a1458.
Waconia's July 4th fireworks have continued without a break for more than 35 years. This year's show will be about the same size as in the past. The Waconia Area Lions are a major sponsor, but a number of other businesses and volunteers also contribute. The fireworks are shot from the southern end of Coney Island, so people on shore and in their boats have a good view. Waconia does not have a July 4th parade. More information: www.startribune.com/a1459.