Sun shines on Brainerd 4th of July celebration

The Iron Workers Local 512 float riders soak paradegoers along the route Thursday, July 4, during the Brainerd Fourth of July parade. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The heat did not keep the peeps away from the Fourth of July Celebration in Brainerd as the young and old lined up in swarms along the parade route with the heat index climbing up to 85 degrees.

The shaded spots were the prime areas to sit and people brought umbrellas and canopies to block the sun, as the sun was hot. The shaded spots felt about 20-30 degrees cooler than the sunny spots. Luckily, every so often, a 6-7 mph calm wind moved the air a bit to offer relief.

Even though the parade was about an hour long people arrived much earlier and had to beat the heat for a longer time period. And people still had smiles on their faces as they waited for the parade to start.

Cassie Carey, Brainerd Community Action executive director, is in charge of the Fourth of July Celebration and said there were a few more units/floats compared to last year on the parade route. There was only one political unit this year, compared to eight last year.

Overall, Carrie said the Fourth of July Celebration went well. She said not only was there more parade units, but there were more new food vendors and having more than 20 volunteers help with the festivities, supporting Independence Day, was nice to see.


People of all ages and walks of life attended the parade.

Dressed as the Brainerd water tower, Brainerd City Council member Dave Badeaux shoots a water gun at the crowd as he catches up to the Support the Historic Water Tower float Thursday, July 4, during the Brainerd Fourth of July parade. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brianna Butricks, 16, Pine River, was playing cornhole on boards sporting the Twins logo with her 11-year-old brother Kaden Butricks, their cousin Talan Zabriskie, 8, Thief River Falls, and Brianna Butricks’ boyfriend Chayse Houston, 15, Motley -- before the parade started. They played behind their family vehicles parked in the empty lot off Laurel and South Fourth streets, near the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse.

Brianna Butricks, sporting red, white and blue ribbons in her hair, said the family mainly attends the Brainerd parade every year, but sometimes they go to the Pequot Lakes parade. She said it depends on the day when their extended family members come to town. This year all the family was together and wanted to go to a bigger parade, so they could spend more time together.

“It’s really fun,” Butricks said of the parade. “There are more businesses that are showing up and I like that. The Pulse (a Christian radio station), I didn’t know about them until a few years ago when I was at the parade.”

Giant marshmallow props are held over a large faux fire on the Paul Bunyan Land float Thursday, July 4, during the Brainerd Fourth of July parade. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch


Some first-timers at the Brainerd parade consisted of three generations -- Greg and Christina Sanders of Wadena, their son Jordan Sanders, 21, and grandchildren Rebecca and Jayden Sanders, both age 7. They planned to partake in all the festivities and make a day out of it, from watching the parade to listening to the music to watching the fireworks. The family typically goes to Wadena for the fireworks, but this year there won’t be any fireworks.

“This is by far the biggest parade I’ve ever been to,” Jordan Sanders said. “I’ve been to Bertha’s parade, Bena’s parade and Watermelon Days and so far this is the biggest.

“It’s fun, it’s nice to be out.”

At the end of the parade, Christina Sanders said, “It was awesome, it was fun.” And her two grandchildren held up their bags of candies with smiles on their faces.

Bob and Eileen Engebretson, who have lived in Brainerd on and off for the past 80 years, picked out a nice shady spot to watch the parade. They attend the parade most years, as it is a holiday routine for them. They enjoy attending to support the community.

Attending the Brainerd Fourth of July parade is a family tradition for Baxter couple Joe and Jacqui Lindberg. When they were both children, their parents took them to the Brainerd parade. And now married with three children -- Bridget, 8; Charles, 3; and Rosalie, 10 months old -- they continue the tradition and bring them to the parade, and then to the fireworks.

Lakes Area BMX riders make their way along the parade route Thursday, July 4, during the Brainerd Fourth of July parade. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch


“This is Rosalie’s first Brainerd parade,” Joe Lindberg said with a smile as he held her in his arms, bouncing her around.

“We love watching (the kids) enjoy it and the sense of community out here,” Jacqui Lindberg.

Bridget said she likes catching candy the best.

Joe Lindberg said he and Charles like to see the police cars and fire trucks, which were plentiful with police cars from Brainerd and Baxter police departments and the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and fire trucks from the fire departments in Brainerd, Mission, Crosby and Moorhead.

Christina and Trent Hines of Brainerd enjoy bringing their two children Audreanna, 6, and Mason, 5, to the parade. Audreanna said she likes to see the horses and both children, of course, love to collect candy.

“I like that it’s kid friendly,” Trent Hines said. “I like to see the local businesses and see what else is new in town or how they’ve grown.”

Def Leggend, a Def Leppard tribute band, sings with kids from the audience on stage before the fireworks Thursday, July 4, at Don Adamson Field in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch


After the parade, music kept people busy as Bill “The King” Musel and Def Leggend, a Def Leppard tribute band, performed at the Don Adamson Sports Complex at Brainerd High School.

Fireworks burst in the sky above Don Adamson Field as the community watches Thursday, July 4, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Then Peyton McConkey, BHS senior, performed the national anthem before the fireworks display, which is always a big hit for families. Several people during the parade said they planned to just attend the parade and fireworks, taking a break to cool off in between.

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