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Staking claim to title ‘Fireworks Capital of Minnesota'

The annual 4th of July celebration is still a few weeks away but fireworks fundraising and organization efforts continue for one of Park Rapids’ largest events.

Those efforts and financial contributions from the community make Park Rapids the self-proclaimed "July 4th Fireworks Capital of Minnesota."

The title is well deserved, although possibly disputed by other Minnesota communities. Park Rapids Rotary organizes the fireworks display which has grown to what local leaders call the "biggest and baddest" 4th of July fireworks show in Minnesota.

Duluth has a big fireworks display each year on the 4th but per capita, Park Rapids is staking its claim as "Minnesota’s July 4th fireworks capital" by blasting off with the best. Organizers of the Park Rapids event are looking to spark up some friendly competition between our community and the big city on the big lake.

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 top 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 funds now equals 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. Last year, over $33,000 was raised through 460-plus donors.

Rotary looks to raise $34,000 this year to cover expenses, meet the 2016 budget and be financially secure going into 2017.

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. Quite impressive.

The fireworks show works well with other events going on in Park Rapids that weekend starting with the PBR Bull Ride & PRCA Rodeo which runs Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3.

The Firecracker Foot Race is the morning of July 4 and the annual 4th of July Parade put on by the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce 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.