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Celebrate the Fourth of July in the Twin Cities: What, when and where!
The Fourth may be just one day in July, but in Minnesota the celebrations can last all four days of the four-day weekend. Here’s a somewhat comprehensive guide to the many, many Fourth of July festivities taking place in and around the Twin Cities this year.
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Twin Cities “Classics”
Red, White and BOOM! (Minneapolis, July 3 and 4) This two-day festival sprawls along the downtown riverfront, and includes live music, food, a 5k and half-marathon, and a patriotic screening of Top Gun. Fireworks will brighten the night sky at 10pm on the Fourth—shot off from Water Power Park (click here for viewing spots.)
4th of July at Powderhorn Park (Minneapolis, July 4) Powderhorn Park’s rendition of the Fourth starts as a music festival featuring Latin folk music, country blues and fire dancing. Then, at 10 p.m. … you guessed it: fireworks! “There’s no better place for Fourth of July pyrotechnics than Powderhorn Park,” wrote the Star Tribune’s Steve Brandt after last year’s festival.
St. Paul fireworks (St Paul, July 4) The City of St. Paul will set of fireworks around 10:15 on the evening of the Fourth, near Harriet Island Regional Park. Recommended viewing areas: Harriet Island, Kellog Mall Park along Kellog Blvd, Indian Mounds Park, and the Science Museum of Minnesota stairs.
July Fourth in the Park (St. Paul, July 4) Langford Park will play host to an early morning race, a Grand Parade along Como Avenue, food, horseshoe matches, a volleyball tournament, pony rides, and music on the bandstand. Afternoon footraces for the kids are a tradition dating back to the 1960s (check out this throwback photo).
Hmong Freedom Celebration Sports Festival (St. Paul, July 6-7) For 33 years, the Lao Family Community of Minnesota has honored the Fourth of July by inviting the Twin Cities to Como Park for sports tournaments, food, music, performances, merchandise booths, a Miss Hmong Teen pageant, and more. Admission is $5; it costs money to enter a sports tournament, but winning teams get cash prizes
Rosefest Party in the Park (Roseville, July 4) The concluding day of Rosefest will feature kids’ games, carnival activities, food and performances from the Rosetown Playhouse—plus live music in the park. Activities start at 1pm and the day culminates in a firework display over Bennett Lake at ten.
Gettysburg/Vicksburg Anniversary Family Day (St. Paul, July 4) The Minnesota History Center is celebrating the Fourth in fitting style, offering visitors a chance to meet General Ulysses S. Grant, dance to the music of the New Pearl Buttons, make a Union photo case, watch an 1860s fashion showcase and more. There will be ice cream. Admission is $11.
Independence Day at Fort Snelling (St. Paul, July 4) Head over to Fort Snelling on the Fourth and you’ll be treated to military dress parades, a mock-battle, fife and drum music and more historical celebrations. The festivities end at 5, so you won’t miss the fireworks.
Athletic Endeavors and More
Oromo Picnic on July Fourth (Minneapolis, July 4) For more than a decade, Riverside Park has played host to an “Oromo family reunion” each Fourth of July—with Oromo immigrants from around the Twin Cities gathering to play volleyball, basketball and soccer and barbecue. This year the day features a concert from Ali Birra's Golden Jubilee, the “Michael Jackson of Oromo” (according to OPride editor Mohammed Ademo). It also kicks off the first-ever Oromo Week, established to recognize the “growing importance” of the Oromo community in the cities—some 35,000 people and growing. The week will feature a soccer tournament, a youth conference and gatherings of artists, politicians and human rights activists.
Minnesota United Fourth of July (Blaine, July 4) The newest incarnation of professional soccer in Minnesota, the Minnesota United, takes on the Atlanta Silverbacks on the Fourth this year—with tailgating before the match, and fireworks after.
Minnesota Twins Fourth of July (Minneapolis, July 3 and 4) The Twins take on the Yankees four days in a row. On July 3 and 4, fireworks will follow the games. A July Fourth promotion offers a free hot dog and Pepsi with a purchase of a U.S. Bank Home Run Porch View ticket.
Freedom From Pants Ride (Minneapolis, July 4) If you’re heading out into Minneapolis early to prep for fireworks, you might catch a glimpse of a whole lot of bike riders with not a whole lot on. The Freedom From Pants Ride is in its seventh iteration this year. The not-quite-naked ride starts near the Stone Arch Bridge and winds up in Powderhorn Park in time for fireworks, with at least one beach stop along the way.
Other Celebrations by Location
Afton – (July 4) An annual parade, followed by food and music in the park.
Apple Valley – (June 28 – July 4) Freedom Days takes place in multiple locations over the course of a week. Some highlights: a carnival, 2- and 5-mile fun runs, a parade, and (of course) fireworks.
Bloomington – (July 3) At the Normandale Lake Bandshell, celebrate with a kids carnival, live music and fireworks.
Chanhassen – (July 2 – 4) Three days of festivities include baseball clinics, a basketball tournament, live music, a street dance, a carnival, a sand sculpture contest, and… fireworks.
Eagan – (July 4) Two days of fun include a bike parade, a Texas Hole’Em tournament, live music, a parde and fireworks.
Eden Prairie – (July 4) Bingo, live entertainment, the grand openings of a skate plaza and a splash pad, pickleball demonstrations and tournaments, food, and fireworks.
Edina – (July 4) The day starts off with a parade, continues with a concert, and concludes with fireworks.
Excelsior/Lake Minnetonka – (July 4) A parade, races, a sand sculpture contest, live music and fireworks.
Hudson – (July 3 – 7) Booster Days fills four days with food, music, beer, kids’ activities, bingo and fireworks.
Lakeville – (July 4 – 14) This week-long festival features a parade, a pageant, concessions, live music, and fireworks.
Oakdale – (July 4) Oakdale has food vendors, live music and fireworks.
Prior Lake – (July 4) Prior Lake celebrates with a boat parade and fireworks in the evening. There’s also a festival at Mystic Lake Casino—Rocks and Rockets—with live music, food trucks and more fireworks.
Richfield – (July 2-5) Richfield celebrates all week at Veteran’s Memorial Park with parades, a car show, music and fireworks.
St. Louis Park – (July 3-4) A performance by Stevie and the Table Rockers, followed by fireworks.
Stillwater – In Stillwater, the celebrations start with a performance from the St. Croix Jazz Orchestra and culminate in musically choreographed fireworks.
White Bear Lake – (June 13 - July 4) the lengthy Manitou Days concludes on July 4 with food, arts and crafts, a car show, live entertainment, and fireworks at 10.
(Update: The St. Paul Rodeo, as it turns out, does not take place in Minnesota--it's actually in St. Paul, Oregon. But hey, don't let that stop you.)
St. Paul Rodeo (St. Paul, July 2-6) This 78-year-tradition is one of the nation’s top rodeos--nearly 1,000 competitors vie for prize monies approaching $500,000 over five days. There’s a carnival, a wild west art show, a Fourth of July parade, a BBQ cook-off and fireworks to conclude ever night of the event. Tickets start at $12, but there are discounts for college students, military personnel, and a carnival ticket promotion for families who attend on the Fourth.
© 2013 Matea Wasend