Forth of July in the Twin Cities Metro!
by Bradley Loiederman

The 4th of July is coming up quickly, and many are either getting their grills ready or heading up north to spend some quality time at a cabin. This year’s 4th of July definitely feels like it snuck up on us though, and many of us don’t have plans for celebrating our independence. Luckily, cities all over the metro are providing parade, festival, and fireworks opportunities for all! We at SIM decided to put together a little cheat sheet of highlighted fireworks and festivals all around the metro. So get your red, white, and blue gear on and check out these wonderful 4th of July opportunities!



Southwest Metro: Shakopee

With lots of flat, open fields and an easy commute from major highways, Shakopee is a hot destination for the 4th of July! Every year, Mystic Lake Casino hosts a 4th of July event titled โ€œRock and Rocketsโ€ that is free for all ages from 5pm to 10:30pm on the 4th. Come early and check out live music, food trucks, games, and more! At 10pm, a grand display of fireworks will be shot into the sky and leave the crowd at awe with freedom. And don’t worry, the party doesn’t end after the fireworks! Mystic Lake will then be hosting a no-cover after party inside the casino until 1am. So if you’re looking for something to do in the southwest metro on the 4th, make sure to stop by Rock and Rockets at Mystic Lake!

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Southeast Metro: Eagan

Many towns only have activities going on for one day, but Eagan has decided that the fun should last for the entire weekend! From July 2nd to July 4th, Eagan will once again be hosting its July 4th Funfest at the Eagan Community Center festival grounds. The weekend is jam-packed with events and entertainment guaranteed to bring smiles to people of all ages. Some of the events include a blood drive, a bike parade, a carnival, DJs and vendors, bingo, and stage entertainment! And at 10pm on the 4th, vibrant shapes and colors will fill the Eagan sky. The festival also runs later than many other festivals, with the grounds closing every night at midnight. So if you’re in the southeast metro and want to come show some 4th of July pride, make sure to stop on by the July 4th Funfest!

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Minneapolis

If you’re in Minneapolis and looking for some grand fireworks, make sure to go down to the Mill District for the annual Red, White, and Boom festival! Make sure to stop by the festival before July 4th even begins and catch the music and movie showing on Nicollet Island to get your spirits pumping. On the morning of the 4th, get up early and join hundreds of Minneapolitans in the TC Half Marathon, Relay, and 5k starting at 6:30am. Go take a nap after the relay then come back to the Mill District for free music and family activities in the parks at 6pm! Music will be at Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Mill Ruins Park, and Boom Island, giving you multiple artists to check out. And no matter where you are in the festival area, stop what you’re doing at 10pm and watch one of the best firework displays in the entire country! I suggest you try to make it to the Stone Arch Bridge or Mill Ruins Park to watch the fireworks, but you can see them beautifully from anywhere in the festival grounds. Don’t let the crowds dissuade you, because Red, White, and Boom in Minneapolis is the place to be for fireworks this 4th of July!

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Saint Paul

If you’ve already got firework plans in the evening but are looking for something fun to do during the day on July 4th, look no further than The Forth in the Park festival in Saint Paul! The Forth in the Park festival is the only July 4th festival in Saint Paul and one of the longest-running festivals in Minnesota. The festival runs on July 4th from 8am to 4pm, allowing you time to get to a firework display afterwards. The festival starts at 8am with a 4-mile long race starting at Langford Park. At 11am, the neighborhood parade starts and goes down Como Avenue to Langford Park, featuring color guard, bands, floats, music, and much more! The parade concludes in Langford Park where the festival begins. This year, the festival will have horseshoes, volleyball, tennis, live music, pony rides, food, DJs, and many more things sure to entertain the whole family! So even if you have a firework display in mind, make sure to stop by The Forth in the Park in Saint Paul beforehand!

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West Metro: Excelsior

If you’re looking for a firework show older than most towns in Minnesota, look no further than the Lake Minnetonka 4th of July Celebration in downtown Excelsior! Since 1888, patrons have gathered to downtown Excelsior to celebrate their freedom and independence with food, fireworks, and fun. This year, the festival starts on July 4th at 7:30am with firecracker races of different lengths (one mile, 5k, and 10k). At 9am, the festival moves to the beaches of Lake Minnetonka for the sand sculpture contest, followed by a parade and popsicle social at 11am. Other activities this year include live music and pony rides, as well as games and food for everyone! And at dusk, come join the town of Excelsior to watch fireworks over Lake Minnetonka, voted one of the best fireworks displays in Minnesota! So if you’re looking for a day jam-packed with fun activities in the west metro, the Lake Minnetonka 4th of July Celebration in Excelsior is the place to be!

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East Metro: Afton

Afton takes credit for having one of the best small-town feels while still being relatively close to the cities, and their 4th of July festival really furthers this reputation. Starting at noon on July 4th, Afton will once again be hosting its 4th of July Parade and Celebration! The parade, which anyone is allowed to participate in, starts at the marina and goes up Main Street to Afton’s Town Square Park. The parade does not cost money to be in or to watch, and it starts at noon, allowing you to sleep in a little before celebrating. After the parade, festival-goers meet in Town Square Park for music, food, crafts, and beer. There will also be kids’ activities, vendors, and a free trolley running up and down Main Street. Although the city of Afton does not provide fireworks, you can get on one of the cruise ships afterwards and enjoy the end of the celebration with a Fireworks Dinner Cruise on the St Croix! So if you’re looking for some 4th of July fun right on the river, the Afton 4th of July Parade and Celebration is right for you!

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North Metro: Forest Lake
Like Eagan, Forest Lake spreads the independence celebration over the course of multiple days. However, Forest Lake decided that two days weren’t enough either and created a five-day long celebration! The Forest Lake American Legion is creating a gigantic 4th of July celebration for its 92nd year, including live music, a baseball game, bingo, a carnival, and food aplenty! This year, the festivities begin at noon on the weekend and 10am on the 4th and go until midnight on the weekend and 10pm on the 4th, with the carnival lasting from open to close every day. And on Monday night, fireworks will fill the night sky and conclude the five days of celebration. So if you’re in the north metro and are looking to celebrate for more than one day this weekend, make sure to stop by the Forest Lake American Legion and check out the carnival!