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Here comes the Fourth of July

After last year’s miserable weather, Fourth of July organizers in Cloquet have been busy refreshing the weather app on their phones.

On Tuesday night — a week before the big day — the iPhone weather app predicted perfect Minnesota summer weather: partly sunny, temperatures in the upper 70s. The next morning the same weather app showed a 50-percent chance of rain on July 4. Nine hours later the forecast was back to no rain and a high of 81 degrees.

Other than the weather, all the various events are lined up and ready to roll.

That includes the annual and incredibly popular July Fourth parade in downtown Cloquet with a military flyover, the Sawdust 5K and 1-mile race, a car show, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a whole slate of activities at Veterans Park, wrapping up with an outdoor movie and fireworks over the St. Louis River at 10:25 p.m. The Beach at Pinehurst Park is also planning to open after the parade.

“We have our ducks in a row and it’s pretty much paid for via community donations, thanks to many generous sponsors,” said co-coordinator Jana Peterson, also editor of the Pine Knot News.

“Look for a full day of good old-fashioned family-friendly fun, from the parade to the park, to sitting around in the grass that night watching ‘Puss in Boots’ and the fireworks,” she added.

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

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


The day begins early for ambitious runners and walkers, as the annual Sawdust 5K starts 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.

Too early for you? The LaVonna 1-mile walk/run starts at 10:45 a.m. by Northwoods Credit Union and basically covers the parade route before the parade starts.

Find out more and register for the Sawdust at http://www.tempotickets.com/event/UKtnHl.

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. Get there between 8 and 10 a.m. to enter. 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). Stay for music by Ryan and Crimsen Hanson from 6 to 10 p.m.


Paul Cameron’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the Pinehurst Park basketball court starts at noon 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. Every team will get a minimum of two games. It’s free to enter, but teams should register ASAP to guarantee 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. Collectible T-shirts will be available for purchase. Register on Instagram @pinehurstcourts or email [email protected].

Volunteers needed

The only thing still missing is enough volunteers, said co-coordinator Ivan Hohnstadt, advertising director of the Pine Knot News. They still need people to help set up at Veterans Park starting at 6 p.m. Monday, July 3, and they could use some folks willing to empty trash cans and fill in any manpower gaps on the Fourth itself.

“I’ll buy you lunch at any of the seven vendors on the Fourth if you help us set up tables and tents for the food court area,” Hohnstadt said.

And what if the weather goes sideways?

“We are determined to be optimistic,” Peterson said. “But worst-case scenario, there’s always July 5th for the movie or the fireworks.”

Want to help or just have a question? Search Facebook for “Cloquet 4th of July Festival” or visit http://www.cloquetfourthofjuly.com. Or, call 218-213-1231 or 218-391-3696.

July Fourth in Moose Lake

July Fourth starts a day early in Moose Lake, with a kiddie parade at 10 a.m. July 3 from the H&R block building to Hope Lutheran Church. Children should arrive 15-20 minutes early. Nathan Frazer is performing at Moose Lake Muni 5-8 p.m. Monday.

On the actual Fourth of July, grownups (and kids) will parade starting at 10 a.m., followed by music, bingo, inflatables and other activities at Moose Lake City park from noon to the fireworks around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Enjoy a free movie at Lake Theater at 1 and 4 p.m. and breakfast with the Boy Scouts at the park pavilion from 6:30 to 11 a.m.

Pets and fireworks

If the sound of fireworks sends your dog into a spasm of anxiety, it pays to be proactive. Having a loving guardian nearby is the most soothing thing. Play music to distract them, or dress them in a ThunderShirt or other tight-fitting garb, advised Cloquet Animal Hospital veterinarian Jennifer Shepherd. Make sure they have a safe place to go, or spend some quality time together in the basement or some other spot away from the outdoors. Keep the curtains shut and lights on to camouflage any sudden bursts of light. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also recommends a melatonin supplement.

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