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Fourth has numerous activities throughout the region

Parades are among the numerous holiday events in the region this weekend. (Enterprise photo)

Celebrate Independence Day by participating in one or more fun-filled events this weekend in Park Rapids.

Firecracker Foot Race

Online pre-registration is open for the Firecracker Footrace Monday, July 4 at Heartland Park.

Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race on July 4. Registrants receive a race T-shirt.

The event includes a 5K or 10K run/walk. Divisions are 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and better.

Registration is also available the evening before the race, from 5-9 p.m. Sunday, July 3 at Heartland Park.

About 500 people typically participate in the event, which is a fundraiser for the boys and girls cross-country and track teams. For more information, go to

Boat parades

Friends and neighbors gather on the water to celebrate the holiday, decorating watercraft from canoes to pontoons for fun and sometimes for prizes. Many lake associations sponsor post-flotilla potluck picnics and other social events. See page 17A for a listing of boat parades.

Pie auction

Beagle Books & Bindery will host the 5th annual Pie Baking Contest and Auction Monday, July 4th as a fundraiser for the Park Rapids Area Library.

The event has raised over $2,000 for the library that has primarily been spent on children's books.

Emile Henri pie plates, $800 in cash and other prizes have been given to winners in the past four years.

With the conclusion of this contest, production will begin on a cookbook chronicling the pie entries of the first five years.

Beagle Books will accept pies for the contest from 9 a.m. until noon July 4th. There is a $5 entry fee per pie entered.

Pie categories are:

n Custard or cream

n Single crust (baked)

n Double crust (baked

n Children's (any pie baked by an 8-12 year old).

The top pie in every category will receive prizes including $25. The pie deemed "best in show" will win an additional $100.

After the parade, pies will be auctioned off in front of Beagle Books. (Yes, the pies will be missing one slice each!)

All proceeds - from the entry fees to the money raised at the auction - will be donated to the Park Rapids Area Library.

Judges this year include local chef Tom Geraedts,

Brita Sailer and Mary Loyland, a University of North Dakota professor.

Organizers are hopeful that Chef John Michael Lerma will be in attendance as a judge as well.

Lerma gave birth to this contest in 2007 and has been either present or instrumental in every one of the pie baking contests/ auctions since.

Lerma is currently battling stomach cancer. Chemotherapy may prevent him from traveling from his home in the Twin Cities to Park Rapids for the 4th of July.

4th of July parade

This year's Fourth of July parade will begin at 5 p.m. heading from Monico Lane, south on Main Avenue. The route is slightly different this year due to downtown construction.

Instead of taking Main Avenue to Fifth Street and heading west the turn will be on Fourth Street. At Pleasant Avenue the parade route will continue south for one block and then continue west on Fifth Street.

Remember to bring a lawn chair and corral the kids from running out into the street for candy.

PBR bull ride

The annual Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour continues today (Saturday), July 2 and Sunday, July 3 at the Double J Rodeo Grounds on Highway 34. The gates open at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6:30 p.m.

The three-day event offers 52 rides a night with 156 entries accepted.

The opening performance each night will feature a world famous six-horse hitch. Dave Free will lead the opening with the Color Guard and then a salute will be given to local, active duty soldiers and veterans.

This year, the bull ride has reserved stadium seats that are padded. These seats are closest to the bucking chutes.

Also, Sunday is Kid's Day. All kids (11 and under) get in for just $10 and kids five and under get in for free. For the other performances children ages 2 and under get in free.

Bull riding is not the only extreme sport at the event. This year those high-flying, back-flippin' wild and crazy Moto X riders will be back to thrill the audience.

After intermission, kids ages 5-7 who want to grow up to be cowboys, have their chance for eight seconds of fame - or longer - on a sheep in the popular amateur event. Call 732-5587 to enter.

When the show is over, nightly dances will be held in the Montana Pavilion featuring regional favorites "Switch" and straight from Moondance Country Jam, "Smokehouse."

Along with hat and boot vendors, a variety of food is available including chili cheese steak, BBQ pulled pork, cheese curds, roasted nuts, burgers, frybread, ice cream and more.

Pre-fireworks fun

Celebrate your patriotism and love of music all at once as the Park Rapids Area Community Band performs a pre-fireworks concert, starting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 4 in Red Bridge Park.

You won't want to miss a note from the piccolo to the big bass drum. Dr. Russell Pesola conducts the band in a concert of patriotic music and marches that sets the stage for the Independence Day celebration's grand finale.

Grand finale

The day comes to a close with a fireworks display overlooking Fish Hook River and Heartland Park. Beginning at about 9 p.m. bring your radio and tune in to 97.5 KDKK or 92.5 Hot Country. A pre-show will be broadcast with fireworks immediately following the program.

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.