A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Suddenly, it's time to think about the Fourth

Ready, set, sparkle. With less than a month until the Fourth of July holiday, Cloquet organizers say plans are in place for a full day of community fun.

In Cloquet, there will be a parade and fireworks, plus the Sawdust 5K and 1-mile race in the morning, a car show at the Northeastern Hotel and Saloon and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Pinehurst Park. There will also be activities in Veterans Park following the 11 a.m. parade and an outdoor movie in the park before the fireworks, also at Veterans Park. There will be a flyover at the start of the parade by the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard of Duluth.

Organizers are hoping Mother Nature cooperates this year.

“Last year was a rough one with the weather causing delays for the first time in recent memory, but we’re hoping for warmer temps and no lightning this year,” said Jana Peterson, Fourth of July celebration co-coordinator. “We are really looking forward to seeing the community come out and celebrate together.”

The afternoon activities at Veterans Park will be familiar and mostly free. The Dash for Cash, when kids dig in sand or sawdust for quarters, will return, and so will the pie-eating contest. There will be family-friendly fun ranging from the popular balloon toss to Wiffle ball games and a variety of inflatables from noon to 5 p.m. New this year is a tiny train that kids can ride around the park. Paid attractions include the popular bungee trampolines, along with helicopter rides that take off from a lot next to Veterans Park.

Other activities are still being determined.

“We’re hoping to have musicians busking at the park, and other entertainment — music, magic and juggling and more,” said co-coordinator Ivan Hohnstadt. “We’re still looking for arts and crafts vendors, and anyone who wants to entertain.”

The food trucks will return to Veterans Park all day long, including mini donuts, corn dogs, cheese curds, kettle corn, ice cream and more. Holy Smokes will offer smoked meat sandwiches and Julie’s Eggrolls will be there, along with other local favorites.

The most challenging part, fundraising to pay for the daylong event, is going fairly well, Hohnstadt said, estimating that they are a little over halfway to covering the roughly $25,000 in costs, which includes $15,000 for fireworks alone. Top donors so far include Sappi and USG, which each donated $2,000. Visit Cloquet awarded $1,500. At the $1,000 level are Minnesota Energy Resources and Upper Lakes Foods. Kwik Trip has donated $750. Several other businesses have donated $250 to $500, but organizers are hoping more folks will step up over the next several weeks.

“We have only a few weeks left to put the finishing touches on this, so if you’ve been planning to donate, please do so,” Hohnstadt said. “Every dollar counts. If every resident in the city of Cloquet contributed $2.50, the event would be paid for.”

Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the Pine Knot office at 122 Avenue C in Cloquet; address envelopes and write checks to Cloquet Fourth of July. Find out more on Facebook at Cloquet 4th of July Festival, or cloquetfourthofjuly.com.


Road race

Julie and Sam Jacobson are in their second year at the helm of the Sawdust 5K race, which begins at 8 a.m. July 4 at Pinehurst Park. The route takes runners up and down the hills in the heart of Cloquet. Cost of registration is $35 (or $20 without a T-shirt). There’s also an option to race virtually.

Too early for you? The LaVonna 1-mile starts about 20 minutes before the parade and it’s free. T-shirts are $20.

Find out more and register for the Sawdust at https://www.tempotickets.com/saawdust2023.

Basketball tourney

Paul Cameron is again organizing a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Pinehurst Park starting at noon on July Fourth. It’s a popular event for players and spectators, and a great place to watch some fun and intense half-court basketball games. Each team can have four players.

The double-elimination tournament is for all ages, Cameron said.

“It’s open to anyone, no matter your age, gender, whatever,” he said. “We’ve got sixthgraders up to college athletes.”

Every team will get a minimum of two games. There’s no charge to enter, but teams should register in advance to guarantee they get a spot.

“It’s crazy how free this is. People tell me we should make it a paid event, but I don’t want people to be deterred,” Cameron said, adding that collectible T-shirts will be available for purchase and to help cover costs. Find out more via Instagram @pinehurstcourts or on Facebook.

Car show

Bert and Judy Whittington will hold their annual Fourth of July car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4 at the Northeastern Hotel, Saloon & Grille on Dunlap Island in Cloquet. There is no entry fee and no classes. There are trophies and plaques for best of show, people’s choice and various “best” car categories, including Ford, GM, Mopar and Open Class (unrestored, Hot Rod, other corporations).

Rendered 06/16/2024 10:53