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From the Editor: It takes all of us on the Fourth

By the time most of you read this, July Fourth will have come and gone. Weather permitting, the parade, family fun, car show, races, basketball, movie in the park, and fireworks will have brought great joy to thousands once again, a national birthday party that's been celebrated in Cloquet for more than a century.

"July fourth was the best summer day ever. It always will be," wrote Cloquet native and local poet Patrick Stevens of his 55-year-old memories of the holiday. Many of us share some magical memories of at least one Independence Day.

It's a special day in the life of a community, no matter which park or road takes center stage. Today, people crowd Cloquet Avenue to see who's coming next in the parade, bumping into friends and family, young ones scrambling for candy. Veterans Park is the epicenter of most of the community offerings, although Pinehurst hosts both the Sawdust 5K and a basketball tournament that runs all afternoon, and the Whittingtons throw a heck of a car show at the NorthEastern Hotel Saloon & Grille on Dunlap Island.

Most activities at Veterans Park following the parade are free - face painting, inflatables, mini train rides, balloon animals, wiffleball - plus the movie in the park and the fireworks that evening.

Correction: They are offered at no charge to the community. They are paid for through donations large and small.

With the cost of the fireworks display up to $15,000, that colorful noisy nod to the War of Independence is a doozy. The movie in the park takes second place, with movie rights and equipment and expertise to show the movie coming in at close to $4,000. The bouncy houses and mini train are $2,000. Portable toilets are $1,300. Around $400 in quarters will be buried in the sand for the Dash for Cash. Costs for other activities add up as well.

The Pine Knot organizes the Fourth of July under contract with the city, so we are well acquainted with the inner workings of the event and know what it takes to pull it off.

We're happy to say, numerous businesses, organizations and individuals contributed to making this year's Fourth of July celebration in Cloquet another wonderful event. It's a thing of beauty, the way they share the burden so no one has to carry too much.

If you know folks who work at the following businesses, or belong to a contributing organization, please thank them for ensuring that the largest annual gathering in Cloquet can again provide free fun for so many.

Major sponsors of this year's Cloquet July Fourth celebration include 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, Kwik Trip and USG each donated $1,000. Visit Cloquet awarded a grant of $1,500. Boldt gave $750. On the list of $500 contributors are the Cloquet VFW, Gordy's Hi-Hat, Wood City Motors, Community Memorial Hospital, and in-kind donations came from Mr. Biffy, Widdes Trailer Sales, the Armory and the Pine Knot. And there were so many other donations from individuals and businesses ranging from $5 to $400 that we don't have space to name here.

Thank you all.

We got a letter in the mail suggesting that the city of Cloquet should cover all the costs of July Fourth, not its individual and corporate citizens.

The city already plays a tremendous role. The public works department is busy in the days before and after the event, helping the committee prepare the parks and streets for various events and blocking off the parade from distracted drivers. Meanwhile, the police department works hard on crowd control and keeping us safe.

It may be cliche, but it really does take a village.

Here's hoping our villages (across Carlton County, Minnesota and the country) will continue to come together to make even more magical memories.

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