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Fourth fun fits the times


July 2, 2021

Jana Peterson

Wayne Polley of the Cloquet Eagles donates $1,000 toward the fireworks to July Fourth committee members Karin Stedman (left) and Alyson Leno. "July Fourth is a really important and kid-friendly holiday, so we are happy to help sponsor this year's fireworks," Polley said.

The unanimous selection for this year's grand marshals of the July Fourth parade is a group of people who worked hard and risked much over the past 18 months: health care workers.

"All health care workers, from those in nursing homes and school settings to clinics and hospitals, public health nurses and more, deserve our thanks for taking care of us during the pandemic," committee members said in a joint statement. "We hope everyone who is watching the parade Sunday will make them feel special - and reach out to thank the many who can't be there as well."

All health care workers, from those responsible for cleaning the rooms to nurses, doctors, receptionists, assistants, therapists, administrators, ambulance drivers and EMTs, aides in senior living facilities and more are invited to ride on or walk alongside the grand marshals' Healthcare Heroes trailer Sunday. No proof of employment is necessary, just come to the parade lineup at Cloquet Avenue and 18th Street between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday and look for the heroes float, said parade coordinator Jana Peterson.

Community Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Breuer said they were grateful and agreed with the decision to honor health care workers, every one of them.

"We want it to be about the caregivers, to focus on the technicians, the nurses, the doctors and aides," Breuer said.

As the Fourth draws closer, local businesses and organizations have come forward to help pay for this year's fireworks display. Coordinator Alyson Leno said businesses that normally contribute larger amounts of money dialed back contributions this year, but others stepped up and helped make up the difference.

Last week the Cloquet Eagles Aerie 1163 donated $1,000, four times their usual donation. Combined with unspent donations from last year, including $2,000 from Sappi, there is enough money to cover the fireworks and parade expenses, Leno said.

"We are thrilled to have the support from our northern Carlton County community: businesses, citizens and service organizations," Leno said. "They have continued to step up in these challenging times to help us celebrate with our favorite events: the parade and fireworks!"

Not happening are any of the events at Veterans Park, including all the kids' games and activities in the afternoon or the movie at night. That's because those events are geared toward children 12 and younger, and they will not be vaccinated by the fourth of July.

"We understand there have been some frustrations with us not being able to host our normal full schedule of events," Leno said. "We [July Fourth planning committee members] also wish it could be a normal year, but circumstances are different."

Committee members encourage people to get creative with their fireworks viewing locations, rather than gathering by the thousands at Veterans Park as usual. It's not wise, and there also won't be vendors and the usual additional facilities at the park for the Fourth this year.

"Next year we hope everything can be 100-percent back to normal," Leno said.

Cloquet Fourth schedule

8 a.m. Sawdust 5K race at Pinehurst Park. Register in advance at Registration for the Sawdust is $25 before July 2 and $30 on race day.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual Fourth of July car show returns to the NorthEastern Hotel, Saloon and Grille on Cloquet's Dunlap Island starting at 10 a.m. on July Fourth. All ages welcome. Enjoy a beverage or some grilled hamburgers and more, and mosey past notable cars from every decade: hot rods, antiques and classic cars to make every car lover's heart beat a little faster. There may be live music after the car show. No entry fee. Awards for Best of Show, People's Choice and the following categories: best Ford, GM, Mopar and open (unrestored, hot rod, etc). Set up 8-10 a.m. Voting is by participants and spectators. Call Bert at 218-393-0657 to volunteer to help with car show registration and parking.

10:45 a.m. The LaVonna 1 miler along Cloquet Avenue, before the 11 a.m. parade. The 1-mile footrace is free. Line up at Avenue B and 18th Street around 10:30 a.m. to participate.

11 a.m. The annual Cloquet July Fourth parade starts on 18th Street and proceeds down Cloquet Avenue to U.S. Bank. Grand marshals for this year's parade include any health care professional who would like to participate. Anyone who would like to be in the parade is welcome, and preregistration at [email protected] is encouraged. Call Jana at 218-213-1231 with any questions on Sunday. There is a suggested $20 donation, and lineup starts at 10 a.m. Trophies will be awarded for Most Patriotic and Best Music.

Noon: The Pinehurst Park 3 on 3 basketball tournament, which starts at 12 p.m. and is free to all participants. There's no charge to play in the double-elimination tournament, and spectators are welcome. To register email [email protected] or find Cameron on Instagram @pinehurstcourts.

7-10 p.m. The band Crimsen Tied, featuring Ryan and Crimsen Hanson, will perform at the NorthEastern Hotel, Saloon and Grille. No cover charge. Customers are welcome to stay and watch the fireworks from the historic bar on Dunlap Island.

Dusk (approximately 10:10 p.m.) Fireworks over the St. Louis River. All events in Veterans Park were canceled this year due to the pandemic and children under 12 not being eligible for vaccinations. There will also be no vendors or additional facilities in the park.


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