Fireworks, fun on the 4th

Fireworks illuminate the Stillwater Lift Bridge during Stillwater’s 2012 show. This year’s display begins at 10 p.m. Thursday with music simulcast on KLBB-AM 1220. (Gazette file photo)

Fireworks illuminate the Stillwater Lift Bridge during Stillwater’s 2012 show. This year’s display begins at 10 p.m. Thursday with music simulcast on KLBB-AM 1220. (Gazette file photo)

Thursday’s Fourth of July fireworks show in Stillwater will be a blast.
City Administrator Larry Hansen said because the Independence Day fireworks show is the only display during the year with the end of Lumberjack Days, city officials plan a bigger display.

“We want this display to be bigger and better than the one before,” he said. “Since we’re down to one display since we don’t have Lumberjack Days, we wanted it to be special. So we’ve put a little more money toward it this year. We have 12-inch shells which are really large and a lot of people can’t have them because there’s not enough distance in the area where the display takes place. So, we’ll have a longer show with larger shell explosions and the sound mix, put together by Councilman Mike Polehna, is pretty nice. There’s music there for everybody.”

KLBB-AM 1220 simulcasts the show, which takes place at 10 p.m. over the St. Croix River.

However, because parts of Lowell Park are expected to be under water from the rising St. Croix River, Hansen said those coming to watch the show must do so from downtown parking lots and other locations.

“Unfortunately I think our park (Lowell Park) will be under water, so we’ll have to put people in parking lots, which isn’t nearly as nice as sitting on a blanket on the grass,” he said. “But we’ll do what we have to do. We did that in ‘11 as well.”

The new downtown plaza will be blocked off for veterans and their families and, according to Hansen, will be opened to the public if space is available.

“We thought it would be a nice gesture to thank them and their families for their service and sacrifice,” he added.

Due to the federal government sequestration, there won’t be a flyover at the event, Hansen said.

“We had put in a request to get F-16s and a Blackhawk helicopter, but because of the sequestration, the government had put an end to that,” he said. “It’s kind of unfortunate because I enjoyed seeing them.”

Overall though, Hansen hopes St. Croix Valley residents will come out to enjoy the evening and the display.

Two concerts will also be taking place in Stillwater during the day Starting at 7 p.m. the Dakota Valley Pops Orchestra will perform in Lowell Park and the St. Croix Jazz Orchestra will perform in Pioneer Park. Both concerts are presented by Cub Foods and Andersen Windows.

Stillwater Public Library supporters can view the display, participate in the unveiling of sculptures commissioned in memory of community leader Richard Huelsmann and support the library at the Fourth Annual “Light A Spark” fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday.

KSTP-5 Eyewitness News anchor Bill Lunn emcees the event on the library terrace featuring the 8 p.m. unveiling of sculptures by local artist and educator Kinji Akagawa commissioned by the Huelsmann Foundation to honor Huelsmann.
Cost to attend the family-friendly event is $35 for adults and teenagers, $20 for children ages 5 to 12 years and free for children under 5 years of age. Visit www.lightaspark.org or call 651-275-4338, extension 130 to buy tickets.

Although the Stillwater fireworks show highlights the Fourth of July, other family-related events are happening in several area communities. Get a jump on fireworks shows at the Marine on St. Croix display at dusk Wednesday in downtown Marine.

The holiday fun continues Thursday in Marine with two- and four-mile races in the morning and a noon parade along Main Street in downtown Marine. Registration for the races is 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. at the Hay Lake School. Cost is $15 for an individual or $50 for a family, with checks made out to the Marine Restoration Society. Both races start at Hay Lake School and end at Marine Elementary School.

The annual All-Town Fourth of July parade marches along Main Street. Line-up is at 11:30 a.m. and the kiddie parade steps off from the log cabin when the noon whistle sounds. All other parade participants line up at the Judd and Berkey streets intersection.

Kids are the stars of the Lake Elmo Fourth of July Kids Parade and ice cream social. The parade runs through downtown Lake Elmo at noon, with participants asked to line up on Lake Elmo Avenue south of 32nd Street and ready to go at 11:50 a.m.

The parade ends in Lions Park with an ice cream social presented and served by the Lake Elmo Rotary Club. Call Steve Johnson at 612-670-4243 for information.

Afton hosts a holiday celebration featuring food, music and parade from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Town Square Park. Parade line-up is 11 a.m. at the Afton Marina with the parade start at noon. Prizes go to the best floats. The Zingrays perform in the park from 1-3 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to park at Lakeland Plaza and ride the shuttles from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for $3 round trip.

Two Bayport churches renew a 29-year tradition Sunday that started to celebrate America’s Bicentennial when Bethlehem Lutheran and People’s Congregational churches hold a 9:30 a.m. ecumenical service at Lakeside Park.

The Rev. Lanny Kuester of People’s Congregational delivers the meditation. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair. The service will be in People’s Congregational Church in the event of inclement weather.

The holiday forecast calls for sunny to partly cloudy skies Thursday through Sunday with highs in the low to middle 80s and lows in the middle to upper 60s. There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday night lingering into Sunday.

  • ThenISaid

    There’s nothing new about 12-inch shells. The city and Lumberjack Days shot 12 inch shells for years, Mr. Hansen. It’s unique among fireworks shows, but not what’s been done in Stillwater. As citizens, we used to get two spectacular shows for the same price you’re spending for this. Plus, there’s no fly-over and the park is underwater. Not impressed.

    • Patricia Henning

      We are so fortunate to have such an amazing fireworks display in a beautiful location! It makes fighting for a parking space all worth while. In response to the rude commentary from “ThenISaid”: Go elsewhere if you are so unimpressed!

      • ThenISaid

        Sorry to sound unappreciative. My beef is not about the astounding quality of the shows in Stillwater but the fact that Mr. Hansen seems to claim this is bigger and better when in fact the standard was set well over a decade ago. He says they’ve put more money into the show to make it longer, which is a waste. The community used to get 2 fantastic fireworks shows for the same cost when LJD was doing Thunder in the Valley (always a better show than July 4 IMO). How about he say something like we’re continuing this great tradition instead of blowing his own horn and that of councilman Mike Polehna?

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