Baxter City Council members confirmed support for a Fourth of July fireworks celebration.
Dave Badeaux, Brainerd Community Action executive director, participated in the Baxter City Council meeting May 19 via Zoom. Badeaux, who also serves as Brainerd mayor, appeared before a green screen background of Laurel Street in Brainerd as his backdrop.
Badeaux reached out to Baxter in regard to the Fourth of July activities. Both Brainerd and Baxter help support the annual fireworks display.
“And that is something we feel very strongly we would like to have again this year,” Badeaux said.
He said Community Action, which is meeting weekly now instead of monthly, is formulating plans for what the annual Independence Day celebration would look like amid the coronavirus pandemic. The parade is canceled. Badeaux said they were adjusting to what they can accomplish.
“We feel very strongly that it is very important this year, probably more than most years, that we give some kind of reprieve or some kind of stress relief for the citizens of our area,” Badeaux said. “And so we’d like to have some kind of celebration, now what that means I can’t say for sure. We’ve got some fun ideas as to how to do some different events that you know might be a little different than what we’ve normally done, including the parade, that sort of thing. Obviously having large groups of people gathering together is still something that we are not confident in being able to do. So we are taking a 30 days out approach on the festivities and coming June 1 we are going to make our final decision.”
To do that, Badeaux said they were trying to determine what they could count on for support. Badeaux said they are looking at multiple locations for the fireworks with an eye toward shooting them off as high as possible so people could see them from a distance. In the past, the fireworks have included music and low-lying effects visible to the crowd that gathers on the high school athletic field along East River Road in Brainerd. Some of those traditions may no doubt have to change to avoid a large gathering.
The Baxter council members gave Badeaux a thumbs up for a commitment to move forward. The money for fireworks is in the city budget and would be paid if there is an event to sponsor.
Council member Connie Lyscio asked if there would be a chance to make it a Labor Day weekend celebration if it had to be postponed in July.
Badeaux said that isn’t a thought they’ve explored, but they will be making a decision soon. He noted the annual Arts in the Park event in Gregory Park, which takes place during the July Fourth celebration period, will probably be pushed back. Community Action made that postponement official in a news release Friday.
“We’ve kind of taken the stance that — you know it’s almost like a line in the sand — that we feel like come the Fourth of July people are going to want some kind of relief and some kind of celebration — at least show some resilience,” Badeaux said of the celebration and the fireworks. “And we want to try and give that if possible.”
Lyscio said she totally agreed but noted since the funds are there and if they couldn’t go forward in July they could have them at another time for a city celebration.
Mayor Darrel Olson confirmed the council consensus Baxter was ready to participate for the Fourth of July.