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Enterprise Editorial: Park Rapids looks to live up to the fireworks hype

Organizers of Park Rapids fireworks show slapped the "biggest and baddest of Minnesota" title on the annual 4th of July display a few years ago, and each year work to live up to the hype. So far, they've been successful, thanks to the community's financial support.

Through those efforts and financial contributions Park Rapids is the self-proclaimed "July 4th Fireworks Capital of Minnesota." The title is well deserved, although possibly disputed by other Minnesota communities.

With a few weeks remaining until we celebrate, fundraising efforts continue as the fireworks show is locked and loaded to blast off in Heartland Park. Park Rapids takes pride in maintaining this "biggest and baddest" fireworks show held each year on July 4.

Check out the Park Rapids Rotary Facebook page for the 20 minute video documenting the fireworks show.

Duluth has a big fireworks display each year on the 4th and Park Rapids likes to take on the big boys. Park Rapids boasts, per capita, our show is bigger and isn't backing down from its claim as "Minnesota's July 4th fireworks capital."

The fireworks leaders of the Park Rapids event look to spark up some friendly competition between our community and the big city on the big lake, but so far Duluth hasn't taken the bait.

What the Park Rapids folks pride themselves on is this show is funded 100 percent through business, community organizations and individual contributions. No tax dollars go into the annual fireworks display.

The donation list this year should get close to 500 contributors.

That's impressive and makes Park Rapids unique in the way this summer tradition is funded. People here take pride and ownership in putting on such a great fireworks show. It's a grand, colorful, dramatic, thunderous and patriotic display that lights up the sky over Heartland Park and the Fish Hook River.

Crowds are bigger each year and the event is yet another summer draw to Park Rapids.

The fireworks fundraising effort is in its final financial push leading up to the 4th of July weekend. More money going into the fund now means the biggest, baddest and best show possible next year.

Rotary took over organizing the fireworks display in 2008 and that year had 77 donors. The number of contributors jumped to 259 in 2009, and raised over $25,000.

In 2014, about 450 business and individual donors contributed $29,500. Over $33,000 was raised in 2015 through 460-plus donors.

Contributions topped $34,000 for the first time in 2016 with over 481 donors. Rotary looks to continue the outstanding fundraising support this year with another $34,000 goal to cover expenses, meet the 2017 budget and be financially secure going into 2018.

Local businesses, organizations and individuals, and the community as a whole, should be praised for their generosity in making the July 4th fireworks display what it is each year.

The fireworks show works well with other events going on in Park Rapids that weekend starting with the PRCA Rodeo and Xtreme Bull Ride which runs Friday, June 30 through Monday, July 3, and attracts thousands to town for the four-day event. The Firecracker Footrace is the morning of July 4 and the annual 4th of July Parade starts at 5 p.m. through downtown Park Rapids.

Those looking to contribute to the Park Rapids Rotary Foundation Fireworks Fund can mail to:

Park Rapids Rotary; P.O. Box 704; Park Rapids, MN 56470.

Donations to the 501(c)3 charitable organization are 100 percent tax deductible.

Counter canisters are also set up at various businesses in town.