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Celebrate Independence Day with a bang!

For the fleet of foot

Start the day early with a 5K or 10K run/walk at Heartland Park. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race. Those interested in participating in the run are encouraged to pre-register for a lesser fee at Registration will also be available this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Heartland Park.

Boat parades

Bring out the boats, canoes and pontoons for some patriotic fun on the water. Many area lake associations have planned flotillas for residents and visitors and enter for a chance to win prizes. For more information on the boat parades, check out the Entertainment section.

Pie contest

Bakers and pie lovers: Start baking for the third annual pie-baking contest. From 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Beagle Books will be collecting pies for the judges to taste and determine the winners. The pies will be judged by chef and author of Garden County Pie John Michael Lerma, author Will Weaver, Helen Peterson and chef Tom Geraedts. They will determine the winners following the 4th of July parade. The auction will also be held after the parade. This event is a fundraiser for the Park Rapids Area Library.

Downtown parade

This year's parade will begin at 3 p.m. heading from Monico Lane, south on Main Avenue to 5th Street and then west. Remember to bring a lawn chair and corral the kids from running out into the street for candy.

Bone-jarring arena action

The 31st annual Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour will end this Saturday, July 4 at the Double J Rodeo Grounds on Highway 34. The gates will open at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6:30 p.m.

A musical salute

The Park Rapids Area Community Band will perform a pre-fireworks patriotic concert starting at 7:30 p.m. in Red Bridge Park. The concert will set the stage for the Independence Day celebration's grand finale.

For the grand finale

The day comes to a close with a fireworks display overlooking Fish Hook River and Heartland Park. Because the pyrotechnics are set off in Heartland Park, some parts of the park will be closed for safety reasons. There is still plenty of seating, plus space in Red Bridge Park or in a boat on the Fish Hook River. The show, sponsored by the Park Rapids Rotary Club, will begin shortly after dusk.