The Fourth of July is a federal holiday originally set aside for commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence—when the U.S. was declared independent from Great Britain. It’s a patriotic holiday, often marked with festive parades and an abundance of red, white, and blue.
It’s also a day when many of us get together with friends and family and grill or swim or go boating during the day and then watch fireworks at night. I can still remember—with vivid accuracy—how much fun it was to watch the fireworks in Stillwater when I was growing up. Staying up past your bedtime, staring at the night sky in eager anticipation, oohing and ahhing over your favorites. Whoosh! Fizz! BANG! (or pop, pop, pop) Streams of color filling the sky. And then silence until the next whoosh, fizz, BANG! And if you want to impress your friends by identifying the fireworks, here’s a small list: There are peonies (the most common, a globe-shaped break of colored stars, without a tail effect), chrysanthemums (kind of like the peony, but with bright stars that fade into trails that hang in the sky for at least 10 seconds), willows (like a weeping willow, with long smoke trails), spiders (like willows, only the stars burn longer, creating what looks like spider legs), kamuros (Japanese for “boy’s haircut, a cluster of silver or gold stars, followed by glittery trails), and crosettes (several large stars breaking apart into smaller, criss-crossing stars, usually saved for the grand finale).
It’s all very magical—whether you’re eight or 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 88, or 98.
I don’t think fireworks ever truly lose their appeal.
If you’re planning on going to see the fireworks in the metro area, here’s a list of cities prepared to light up the night sky. Don’t forget a blanket and some bug spray.
• Red, White, and Boom, Minneapolis riverfront. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Good viewing spots along the Stone Arch and Central Avenue bridges, St. Anthony Main, and Nicollet Island Park. Parking is available at the St. Anthony Falls Ramp. https://www.minneapolisparks.org/activities__events/events/red_white_and_boom/
• Apple Valley, Johnny Ridge Cake Park, 140th Street West and Johnny Cake Ridge Road. 10 p.m. (50th Anniversary celebration). http://www.avfreedomdays.com/
• Blaine, National Sports Center, 1700 150th Ave NE, 10 p.m. http://blaineevents.com/
• Bloomington, Normandale Lake Bandshell, **July 3 Summer Fete. 10 p.m. https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/summer-fete
• Coon Rapids, Coon Rapids Ice Center. 10 p.m.
• Cottage Grove, Kingston Park, Indian Boulevard and 75th Street. 9:30 p.m. http://www.cottage-grove.org/city-calendar/1797
• Eagan, July 4 Funfest, Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Parkway (just off 35E, north of the intersection of Yankee Doodle and Pilot Knobs Road on Central Eagan Parkway). Parking available in the Argosy University lot. 10 p.m.
• Eden Prairie, Hometown Celebration, Round Lake Park, 16691 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie. Parking available in the lot between the ball fields; no on-site parking July 4. 10 p.m. http://www.edenprairie.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/6177/17?curm=7&cury=2016
• Edina, Rosland Park, 4300 W. 66th St., Edina. 10 p.m. http://edinamn.gov/index.php?section=events&evtid=3220
• Elk River, Elk River High School, Best viewing spots from Lion John Weicht Park, 1104 Lions Park Drive. 9:45 p.m.
• Excelsior, downtown Excelsior and Common Park (over Lake Minnetonka). Dusk http://www.lakeminnetonka.com/lake-minnetonka-july-4th.html
• Forest Lake, over Forest Lake. 10 p.m. http://www.ci.forest-lake.mn.us/190/4th-of-July
• Ham Lake, Lions Park, adjacent to City Hall. **July 2. 9-10 p.m.
• Hastings, Dakota Pines Golf Club, 2015 Westview Dr. 10 p.m. http://business.hastingsmn.org/Events/details/fourth-of-july-fireworks-at-dakota-pines-golf-club-117180
• Lakeville, Lakeville North High School, 19600 Ipava Ave., 10 p.m. http://www.panoprog.org/event/fireworks/
• Maplewood, Light It Up Fireworks Show, Hazelwood Park, 1663 County Road C E., Dusk. http://www.maplewoodmn.gov/885/July-4th—Light-it-Up-Event
• Mendota Heights, Mendakota Country Club, 2075 Mendakota Dr. 10 p.m.
• Prior Lake, Lakefront Park Beach, Dusk. http://www.priorlakeassociation.org/4th-of-july-2013/
• Richfield, Veteran’s Memorial Park, 6335 Portland Ave. S. 10 p.m. Two viewing areas at Veteran’s Memorial Park: 64th Street & Portland Avenue South and 66th Street and Chicago Avenue South.
• Roseville, Rosefest 2016, Central Park – Lexington East, 2540 Lexington Ave. N. Dusk. http://cityofroseville.com/2570/Monday-July-4
• Shakopee, Canterbury Park, **July 3 Fireworks Spectacular.
• St. Louis Park, Aquila Park, 3110 Xylon Ave. S. 10 p.m. (Dogs strongly discouraged due to hearing sensitivity.) http://www.stlouispark.org/events/july-4th-fireworks-celebration.html
• St. Paul – Fireworks at the conclusion of the Saints game, CHS Field.
• Stillwater, Lowell Park (on the St. Croix River). 10 p.m. http://events.discoverstillwater.com/event/detail/441903950/4th_of_July_Fireworks
• White Bear Lake, Manitou Days, West Park and Memorial Beach, 4980 Lake Ave N. 10 p.m. http://www.manitoudays.com/
• Woodbury, Bielenberg Sports Center, Bailey Road and east of Radio Drive, adjacent to East Ridge High School,10 p.m. (festivities begin at 7 p.m.) http://www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/nomenu/1084-fun-and-fireworks-planned-on-fourth-of-july
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the show!