4th of July...Fireworks?

by Julie Buchwald Haley

Annual celebrations this year hang in the balance due to Covid-19. Many events, including the Rice and Dakota county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair, have been canceled for 2020 by organizers citing the challenges of physical distancing and restrictions on large gatherings currently in effect. But what about upcoming Fourth of July fireworks displays?

On June 15, the Northfield City Council canceled the city’s fireworks display for 2020. “It was a sad decision and we know people will be disappointed,” said Ben Martig, City Administrator;  “… we are continuing to follow the expert requirements and recommendations of the state and county public health officials so we can keep our friends and neighbors safe by controlling the spread of COVID-19.”

Nearby North Morristown has also canceled its fireworks display for the first time in the 100-plus-year history of the event. A recent Facebook announcement reads, “As our country is reeling from recent events, we need to stand together and show our patriotism to our country and help to our neighbors, even if that will look differently this year than in years past. We can all find ways to help out [and] be supportive and positive.” This event has traditionally been Trinity Lutheran School’s largest annual fundraiser so a Family Picnic Fundraiser with games and food has been organized in place of the fireworks.

Cannon Falls plans to have its Fourth of July fireworks at the Cannon Valley Fairgrounds, but has decided it’s best to cancel the annual parade, again citing difficulties ensuring physical distancing for large groups.

Chaska says that its annual Fourth of July fireworks show over Lake Jonathan and McKnight Park will go on as scheduled. “While we think things have changed enough to allow this to occur, and it will be something familiar and fun for the community to look forward to, we are going to be emphasizing in the advertising for this the importance of people socially distancing,” said City Administrator Matt Podhradsky.

City of Lakeville plans to go-ahead with their fireworks to be launched from King Park, however the park will be closed to the public and residents are encouraged to watch the display from home.

If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, Wanamingo is having its fireworks show and Elko Speedway will also have a show following the days’ races.

Faribault is also planning to have fireworks starting at dusk. Organizers have moved the event from Alexander Park to its new location at the Rice County Fairgrounds, where attendees will have space to physically/socially distance and have better views than previous years without trees to block the view.

Wherever you plan to see them, expect that there may be larger crowds since surrounding cities have canceled their celebrations, so keep yourself physically distanced from other revelers to help keep yourself and others safe from Covid-19. It may look different this year, but we can all still have a safe and happy Independence Day.

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