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What to do in the lakes area for the Fourth of July

The lakes area is full of opportunities to celebrate the Fourth of July including Brainerd, Baxter, Crosby, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Crosslake.

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Fireworks above the West College Drive bridge reflect in the Mississippi River Saturday, July 4, in Brainerd. The fireworks show went on as one of the familiar celebrations of Independence Day while the entertainment and parade were canceled due to the pandemic. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD/BAXTER

The Brainerd lakes bills itself as Minnesota’s Fourth of July Capital. To that end, Brainerd Community Action again has organized its annual Independence Day festivities, otherwise known as The American Celebration.

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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

Notably, the annual parade will be at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 4, in Brainerd, followed by fireworks at 10:15 p.m. at Brainerd High School’s Don Adamson Field. Tune into B93.3 on the radio for a Fourth of July broadcast that will include patriotic music during the fireworks.

This year’s parade will be one for the history books as Brainerd is celebrating its sesquicentennial and the city’s founding in 1871.

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While the Fourth of July parade and entertainment are canceled for 2020, the fireworks will go on, Brainerd Community Action reported. Submitted photo / Jeff Mozey

To celebrate the city’s 150 years, the Fourth of July parade theme incorporates the momentous anniversary and the history of Brainerd and Baxter. Parade floats will showcase the area’s history through the generations, and Community Action promises surprises as well.

That history includes Brainerd as the northernmost crossing for the Northern Pacific Railway over the Mississippi River and the city’s early years of industry.

Fireworks viewing restrictions

Because of continued construction at Brainerd High School, there will be restrictions and guidelines for access to the fireworks celebration area. These restrictions are in place for everyone’s safety.

  • Entry from the east high school hill will not be available. Plan for alternate walking routes this year.

  • Entry must be made from the west side of the complex only. Use the marked gates along East River Road to enter the celebration area.

  • The grandstand bleachers at the football field will be open for a unique viewing experience.

  • Picnic seating will be located throughout the celebration area. Due to safety concerns, this excludes the athletic playing surfaces.

  • It’s recommended that people bring bug spray and flashlights.

For more information about the parade route, visit BrainerdCommunityAction.org or visit the organization’s Facebook page.

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This parade watcher screams with excitement while being showered with candy from a passing parade float during the Mission Township Independence Day parade Saturday, June 29. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

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NISSWA

Celebrate freedom in Nisswa on Saturday, July 3, with a full schedule of Freedom Days Celebration activities, including Turtle Races, Water Wars, live music, food vendors and the Freedom Days Parade.

The parade starts at 7 p.m. with spectators lining both sides of Main Street to watch the various floats, marching veteran groups, high school marching bands, clowns, area royalty, fire trucks, car clubs, horse-riding groups and more.

Donna Evans / Echo Journal CorrespondentTwo parade participants throw candy from atop a fire truck to the crowd of kids lined up along the street Saturday, June 29, in Mission Township for the township's annual Independence Day parade.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent Two parade participants throw candy from atop a fire truck to the crowd of kids lined up along the street Saturday, June 29, in Mission Township for the township's annual Independence Day parade.

Following is a schedule of events:

Saturday, July 3

1 p.m.: Turtle Race registration.

2 p.m.: Turtle Races at the downtown turtle track.

4-7 p.m.: Live music by Betty and The Noise at Ye Old Pickle Factory.

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7 p.m.: Freedom Days Parade.

8 p.m.-midnight: Live music by The Express Band at Ye Old Pickle Factory.

The Nisswa Firecracker Run will take place at 8 a.m. Sunday, July 4, in downtown Nisswa.

The annual run features 5K and 10K races and is limited to 2,500 runners.

The routes are flat, scenic, safe and made up of paved trails and streets, making this a family event and easy for anyone to participate, the runupnorth.com website says.

There’s also a Kidz Free Run for children 10 and under. A parent or guardian must be entered in the 5K or 10K for children to participate.

All runs end at the Nisswa Community Center with an optional Slip 'N' Slide finish, crawfish boil, free beers for those age 21 and older, and a red, white and blue snow party.

The Nisswa Firecracker is a beneficiary to Bridges of Hope Minnesota.

Register before July 4. For more information, visit runupnorth.com.

The Pequot Lakes High School band performs "Downtown" during the Nisswa Freedom Days Parade on Tuesday, July 3.
The Pequot Lakes High School band performs "Downtown" during the Nisswa Freedom Days Parade on Tuesday, July 3. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

PEQUOT LAKES

Stars & Stripes Days return to Pequot Lakes Saturday and Sunday, July 3-4, in Trailside Park and the downtown business district, featuring fireworks, family activities, a parade and live music.

Following is the schedule of events:

Saturday, July 3

  • 5 p.m.: Food vendors.

  • 5 p.m.: Bean bag toss tournament registration. Registration is $10 per team of two players. The youth bracket is for ages 8-14; the adult bracket is for ages 15 and older. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third places in each bracket.

  • 5 p.m.: Bungee Trampoline, Bounce House and Kids Climb in South Trailside Park.

  • 6 p.m.: Beer Garden sponsored by Community Action of Pequot Lakes on Main Street between both sides of Trailside Park.

  • 6 p.m.: Bean bag toss tournament begins in South Trailside Park.

  • 7 p.m.: Music in the Park in the band shelter in North Trailside Park.

  • 9 p.m.: 34th Infantry Division Band in South Trailside Park.

  • 10:10 p.m.: Fireworks by Flashing Thunder in the Pequot Lakes High School practice field. Best viewing locations are both sides of Trailside Park, Pequot Lakes School and the TDS parking lot.

Sunday, July 4

  • 7-11 a.m.: Pancake breakfast at the Pequot Lakes Fire Hall on Main Street.

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Craft fair and food vendors in South Trailside Park.

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Bungee Trampoline, Bounce House, Kids Climb and Water Wars in South Trailside Park)

  • 10 a.m.: Kiddie parade at the band shelter in North Trailside Park.

  • 10-11:30 a.m.: Parade lineup/staging in the Pequot Lakes Middle School parking lot.

  • 10:30 a.m.: Bed races on Main Street by the American Legion. This event is free with five per team and prizes.

  • 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Beer garden sponsored by the Pequot Lakes American Legion Post No. 49.

  • Noon: Stars & Stripes Parade.

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The Pequot Lakes American Legion Color Guard marches south on Washington Street as a sole parade unit Saturday, July 4. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Parade route

The parade will start from the west side of Pequot Lakes School and will go:

  • North on South Oak Street.

  • East on Brown Street.

  • North on Front Street.

  • East on North Sibley Street across Patriot Avenue.

  • South on Government Drive.

  • East on Main Street.

  • South on Washington Avenue.

  • West on Woodman Street and back across Patriot Avenue to the school.

The Crosby-Ironton Rangerettes Dance Team danced along the parade route of the Crosby-Ironton Fourth of July Parade Wednesday, July 4. Despite an early morning shower, the weather cleared and the parade entertained the crowd between the two cities. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Gallery
The Crosby-Ironton Rangerettes Dance Team danced along the parade route of the Crosby-Ironton Fourth of July Parade Wednesday, July 4. Despite an early morning shower, the weather cleared and the parade entertained the crowd between the two cities. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Gallery

CROSBY

The Crosby Fire Department is the main supporter of the Crosby-Ironton Fourth of July celebration.

The parade will start at noon Sunday, July 4, at its normal location in front of the Ironton American Legion. Lineup will start at 11 a.m.

The parade route will be modified because of the road project through Crosby and Ironton. The route will continue along Highway 210 as usual to Crosby Memorial Park on Serpent Lake, where it will conclude and exit onto Third Street Southwest to the west (toward Crosby-Ironton High School).

It is important that the parade route does not cross the detour on Second Street Southwest.

Activities will take place all day in the park, including a beer tent, food vendors, live music and more.

A fireworks show will start at dusk over Serpent Lake.

Independence Day revelers gather in Crosby and Ironton Wednesday morning. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch
Independence Day revelers gather in Crosby and Ironton Wednesday morning. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

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