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Parade, fireworks, footrace to highlight 4th festivities

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In what has become Park Rapids’ biggest summer event the 4th of July celebration features a day full of activity to celebrate America’s Independence Day.

Starting with the Firecracker Footrace in Heartland Park the 4th of July also features a classic small-town parade, music in the park and culminates with one of the state’s largest fireworks displays.

4th of July Parade

The annual 4th of July Parade starts at the Hubbard County Fairgrounds on Fair Avenue the parade moves east on Second Street, then south on Main Avenue to Eighth Street and west to Fair Avenue where the parade will finish.

Lineup is at 3 p.m. and the parade begins at 5 p.m.

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the parade and the newest feature this year is the addition of a marching band from New York Mills, sponsored by Northwoods Bank, Essentia Health and Arvig.  

Regional area royalty will participate in the parade and spectators should enjoy the antics of two shriners groups; Fargo El Zagal Mobile Nobles and the Alexandria Area Shrine Club, Calliope and 4 Wheelers Patrol. 

Nevis native Sierra Day will sing the national anthem. She writes original music and has opened for numerous national acts with her current band, "The Mayberry Riot."

Day will also be trying out for the popular television show, "The Voice," this year.

Grand Marshals

PFC Charles M. Andress and Corporal Elmer Y. Yliniemi are this year’s Grand Marshals.

Andress entered active duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps on April 3, 1946 and served until Sept. 30, 1947 in the South Pacific Theater island of Guam. Very few days went by without Japanese soldiers trying to disrupt operations.

His MOS was light truck driver and primary duties were in support of B-29 Bomber operations. Andress earned the WW II Victory Medal and in his 90th year has just completed eight continuous service as Commander of the Akeley VFW post.

Yliniemi entered the Army on Oct. 16, 1950. Upon completion of training, he was assigned to the 5th Combat Brigade of the 24th Division in Korea. He completed his service on July 18, 1952.

Cpl. Yliniemi was a combat squad leader and saw heavy combat. His awards include: the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduce, Presidential unit citation, National Defense and Korea Service Medal with two battle stars and the UN service medal.

Fireworks

The annual 4th of July fireworks display overlooking the Fish Hook River and Heartland Park caps off the patriotic and festive weekend. The Park Rapids Rotary Club sponsors the display, which is funded by donations.

The fireworks show begins shortly after dusk Monday.

Event organizers have branded Park Rapids as the "July 4th Fireworks Capital of Minnesota," boasting the community puts on the "biggest and baddest" fireworks show on the 4th of July in Minnesota.

 Firecracker Footrace

The 38th Annual Firecracker Footrace in Heartland Park starts at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 4.

The 5K run/walk event is a fundraiser for the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country and track teams. A free kids fun run (12-under) will be held after the 5K. All events start and finish in Heartland Park.

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