Laporte celebrated independence in style
The sign entering Laporte proclaims the town's population at 111, but many more packed the streets Friday and Saturday for the annual Independence Day celebration.
Whether they grew up in Laporte and returned to see family or came to town for the festivities, there were plenty of activities to choose from.
The weather was warm and sunny, although a haze of smoke from fires in Canada could be seen off in the distance. There was a variety of food served by various organizations throughout town, including a pancake breakfast by the Laporte-Benedict Lions, a pork dinner put on by the Lakeport Fire and Rescue, meat grilled by the Knights of Columbus and a community pie social to raise funds for upkeep of the picnic shelter.
Fun activities for both kids and adults included a bouncy house, horseshoe and cornhole tournaments, soap box derby, parade and fireworks.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Helmets for Kids, an organization founded by Mike Heikes following a brain injury in a car accident. Heikes came to Laporte from Fergus Falls. He has given away over 22,000 bicycle helmets since 1999, raising money for the cause by biking over 150,000 miles in all 50 states. In 2013, he was struck by a car while riding his bike and went head first into the windshield. He suffered a broken leg, but his head was protected even though the impact split his helmet in half.
As he adjusted each helmet, he asked the child wearing it to keep the strap tight and always wear it when they ride. "Wearing a properly fitting helmet reduces the risk of sustaining a brain injury by 85 percent," he told parents at the bike rodeo. He also reminded parents to check their child's helmet as they grow to make sure it is the right size. Any organization interested in having Heikes put on a bike safety rodeo or donating to the cause can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.