Front-Row Seats in a Silverado

Watching the fireworks from Becker, Minnesota, to the Stone Arch Bridge

A fireworks show next to a factory-looking building.

Photo by Oleg/Fotolia

When Kyle Smelter was young, his favorite fireworks were the ones that looked like big willow trees, and burst into golden incandescence before trickling down in the sky.

While a plenty of grill and barbecue food are Kyle Smelter’s favorite part about the Fourth of July (as well as the day off work now that he’s an adult), he definitely grew up with the tradition of watching fireworks.

“My dad was always the biggest advocate for wanting to go to firework shows,” he says. “I didn’t really care, but my dad was like, ‘Nope, we’re going.’ So we would get in our black Chevrolet Silverado and drive to Becker from Foley—what, 20, 25 minutes—and sit in the bed of it in the Becker Furniture World parking lot, and then the show would be over the power plant.”

“It’s always been my dad, like, ‘Hey, let’s go.’ As we’ve gotten older, we haven’t always gone, my mom and sister and I, but he’ll still go by himself.”

After his family moved from Foley to Chaska and then to Maple Grove, and as the years rolled by, there wasn’t a big piling into the Silverado anymore. When the timing works out, though, Smelter and his family still get together for the Fourth of July.

“[One of my favorite Fourth of Julys was] probably the first time I went to Red, White, and Boom. We were standing on the little bridge that connects St. Anthony Main to Nicollet Island—not the Stone Arch Bridge, but the one that connects. There was a group in front of me, but one of the dudes, he had to have been drinking, he was really funny. He had a name for every firework that exploded, and I laughed the entire time. A purple and green one was called Donatello from the [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles; that’s one I remember specifically. That was just a couple of years ago with my family.”