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Updated: Celebrate the Fourth of July all day long in Cloquet

July Fourth festivities are thundering toward the big day. In Carlton County, both Cloquet and Moose Lake put on a communitywide celebration.

"Fingers crossed for good weather," said Cloquet co-coordinator Jana Peterson. "We have a full slate of activities planned, and a nice summer day would be the icing on the nation's birthday cake."

Fireworks will cap a full day's worth of activities, beginning at 8 a.m. with the Sawdust 5K at Pinehurst. A second footrace, the LaVonna 1-Mile, starts at 10:45 a.m. by Northwoods Credit Union; the qfree race showcases runners racing right down the parade route, followed by a planned military flyover.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. and travels down Cloquet Avenue from 18th Street to Eighth Street.

The parade will feature plenty of local talent, veterans, businesses and organizations represented. Want to join in the fun? Lineup starts at 9:45 a.m. along Cloquet Avenue from 18th to 22nd streets. Meanwhile, the car show at the Northeastern Hotel Saloon & Grille runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with hamburgers and hot dogs and all kinds of drinks available.

Noon is happy hour, with all kinds of family fun and food galore kicking off at Veterans Park, and the fifth annual Fourth of July 3-on-3 basketball tournament getting underway at Pinehurst.

Veterans Park comes alive on the Fourth, with a variety of food trucks on two sides of the park and a myriad of (mostly free) activities in between. 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 shows at 1 and 3 p.m. plus ongoing balloon animals, wiffleball games, face painting and a variety of inflatables from noon to 5 p.m. Kids can ride a tiny train around the park. Paid attractions include the popular bungee trampolines, along with helicopter rides that take off near the parking lot. There will be craft vendors located in the center of the park this year, for those who like to do a little shopping.

The family fun lasts from noon to 4:30 p.m., with a break built in so families (and volunteers) can go home or sit down and enjoy the food truck fare. The outdoor movie, "Luca," will begin between 8:30-8:45 p.m. at Veterans Park, and the day ends with a spectacular barrage of fireworks over the St. Louis River starting around 10:25 p.m.

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. Local favorites include Holy Smokes, Julie's Eggrolls and the B&B Picnic Wagon.

"We really couldn't do this without the sponsors, large and small," said co-coordinator Ivan Hohnstadt, advertising director of the Pine Knot News, noting that donations have ranged from $5 to $2,500 so far. "With fireworks at $15,000, every donation counts."

Major sponsors of this year's Cloquet July Fourth celebration include the city of Cloquet, the Cloquet Eagles Club, Holy Smokes BBQ and Coffeehouse, SKB Environmental of Cloquet, TK Diamond, and Sappi, all having donated $2,000 or more. Minnesota Energy Resources, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Upper Lakes Foods, Super One, USG, and KwikTrip each donated $1,000. Visit Cloquet awarded a grant of $1,500. Boldt gave $750. Many other local businesses and individuals have contributed as well, helping cover costs that add up to nearly $25,000 a year.

The biggest thing still missing is enough volunteers, Peterson said. They need people to help set up at Veterans Park starting at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, and they could use some folks willing to empty trash cans and fill in any manpower gaps on the Fourth itself. Additional face painters or wiffleball umpires on the Fourth would also be welcome.

And what if the weather goes sideways?

"Worst-case scenario, there's always July 5th for the movie or the fireworks," Peterson said.

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


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. Runners are invited to double their mileage and do the Jimmer 10K challenge by just running the course twice, say organizers Julie and Sam Jacobson. Cost of registration is $25. Too early in the morning 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. There is no charge for this race unless you want to order a T-shirt. Find out more and register at runsignup.com/Race/MN/Cloquet/SawdustRaces.

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. 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). Burgers and brats for sale. Stay for music by Crimsen Tide (Ryan and Crimsen Hanson) from 4 to 7 p.m. with a good view of the fireworks at 10:15 p.m.


Browns Connection'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 and any gender, organizer Paul Cameron said. Every team will get a minimum of two games. Collectible T-shirts will be available for purchase.

Why has Cameron made the tournament happen the past five years?

"For the love of the game," said the Cloquet grad, who said the Pinehurst courts are among the best in the Northland.

Cameron is asking for a $20 donation per team to allow for cash winnings, and for all to register ASAP to guarantee a spot. "Don't let the $20 or the lack of team deter you," Cameron said. "We will do everything possible to get you in. Just reach out." Register on Instagram @pinehurstcourts or email [email protected].


July Fourth in Moose Lake

The Fourth of July festivities kick off in Moose Lake the day before, with the kiddie parade starting at 10 a.m. on July 3, from the H&R Block building to Hope Lutheran Church, and live music 5-8 p.m. at the Moose Lake Muni.

On the Fourth itself, the day begins with breakfast 6:30-11 a.m. at the Moose Lake City Park Pavilion, with more food available at Hope Lutheran Church. The Moose Lake city parade starts at 10 a.m.

The Moose Lake City Park is the hub of Fourth activities following the parade, with music in the bandstand, bingo, and a free movie at Lake Theatre at 1 p.m. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m., with most people gathering at the park to watch them.

Look for live music at the Moose Lake muni and Moose Lake Brewing Company July 5-6.