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Uncle Sam's heart might be a little heavy this year, as many (if not most) of our Independence Day celebrations have been thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minneapolis' "Red, White and Boom" fireworks show — as well as patriotic events in Richfield, Roseville, Eagan, St. Paul, Coon Rapids and beyond — have been canceled.

This year, families and friends might have to settle for small, home-based barbecues with the less-than-thrilling fireworks legally allowed for purchase at Minnesota retailers. Or they could grab their laptops. Some municipalities will be sponsoring patriotic content online.

Those bound and determined to raise their heads and flags high may have to travel beyond the Twin Cities metro area for a glimpse of pomp and circumstance.

But before you pile the gang into the SUV, take heed. Even if you drive a couple of hours from the city to see fireworks, you might be required to watch the show from the comfort of your car. And some of the smaller venues aren't set up to handle city-sized crowds.

Madden's on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minn., is one of the few that are.

The 1,000-acre resort includes three beaches and outdoor areas where guests can see the show.

"With social distancing, we had to get creative to give our guests a great experience and sense of normalcy," said resort owner Ben Thuringer.

Madden's will once again put on its fireworks show, which lights up Gull Lake. And while Thuringer said the priority is resort guests, the fireworks can be seen from nearby East Gull Lake Airport or from a boat on one of the area's lakes. The show is a popular one, so space is limited — even on the lakes.

Here is a sampling of municipalities — in the Twin Cities and beyond — that are sponsoring commemorations of sorts, whether it's a video honoring first responders or an old-style fireworks display.

In the metro area:


The Chanhassen Rotary will sponsor a historic-plane flyover from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on July 4 and fireworks at 10 p.m. Lake Ann Park will close at 5 p.m., so spectators are asked to enjoy the fireworks from their homes.


Although the usual holiday activities (parade, fun run and petting zoo) have been halted, fireworks will be shown July 4 at McKnight Park over Lake Jonathan. The city encourages social distancing.


The city is holding a virtual parade featuring clips from community and entertainment groups. It will air at 10 a.m. July 4 on Comcast channel 15-16 and the city's YouTube channel.

There's also a photo contest. Submit a snapshot of family members, friends or yourself dressed in red, white and blue gear or photos of your patriotic porch or door. Winners will be announced on the city's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The city will also offer DIY parade kits so that neighborhoods can organize children's parades. The kits, which include small flags and candy, can be ordered (by city residents only) for delivery the week of July 4.

Forest Lake

While there's no real-life celebration, there will be a virtual one. The Forest Lake 4th of July Celebration Facebook page will have community-submitted videos and photos that salute those who have worked to keep communities healthy and safe during the pandemic.

Outside the metro area:


Madden's sponsors fireworks over Gull Lake at dusk July 4. The show can be seen from the East Gull Lake Airport, however space is very limited.

Cannon Falls

The Cannon Valley Fairgrounds will host food trucks, beer gardens and a parade. Fireworks at dusk July 4. 800 N. 9th St.


10 p.m. July 4. Fireworks will be launched from the Rice County Fairgrounds. Watching from your car is encouraged.

Leech Lake

Fireworks at dusk July 4.


Fireworks at 10 p.m. July 4 at the Lake, a public park. Access to the park will be controlled and visitors are expected to maintain social distance. 815 W. Edgehill.


Fireworks at 10 p.m. July 4 at the Steele County Free Fair. No grandstand viewing. 1525 S. Cedar Av.

Red Wing

Mississippi Alumination will sponsor a fireworks show along the banks of the Mississippi River, which can be seen from one of many area parks, the river or downtown. Dusk July 4.


The city will be decked out in red, white and blue splendor, complete with balloons, lights, banners and, of course, Old Glory. There will be a boat parade on Green Lake, 10 a.m. July 4. Fireworks at dusk on Saulsbury Beach. Viewers are expected to observe social distancing practices and watch via boats, cars and small family gatherings.

Spring Valley

Deer Creek Speedway caps its 6 p.m. weekly points races with fireworks at dusk on July 4. $13-$30. 25262 Hwy. 63.


Fireworks at dusk July 4. Can be viewed from home, cars or designated places around Lake of the Woods.

Melissa Walker • 612-673-4461