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Oh, fabulous Fourth!

Children ages 7-10 crowd into the giant sand pit to dig (and clean off) quarters buried in the sand in the annual Dash for Cash event at Cloquet’s Veterans Park. Jana Peterson/ jpeterson@pinejournal.com1 / 12
The Cloquet fireworks display starts as people are still in the long line for cheese curds during the Fourth of July festivities in Veterans Park. Matthew Moses / Pine Journal2 / 12
Mason Reed of Cloquet and Victoria Moses and Gemma Meyer of Duluth are mesmerized by big screen playing "Sherlock Gnomes" at the Movie in the Park event during Cloquet's Fourth of July festivities. Matthew Moses / Pine Journal 3 / 12
Gina Stenson of Toivola, Minn. was this year’s pie eating champ. Stenson brought four kids with her from Hibbing and nearby to enjoy all the free family-friendly activities in Cloquet on the Fourth. Jana Peterson/ jpeterson@pinejournal.com4 / 12
The Moose Lake Area Historical Society float features a replica of the monument erected at the mass grave where 1918 fire victims were buried and reminds paradegoers that this is the 100th anniversary of the fires that swept through four counties and killed more than 400 people. Contributed photo 5 / 12
Members of The Jury play a wide range of rock 'n' roll cover songs for the crowd at this year’s Fourth of July festival. Band members include Ryan Hanson, Derek Holznagel, Mike Becker, Tim Cockburn and Travis Hilton. Jana Peterson/ jpeterson@pinejournal.com 6 / 12
Avery Davey, 3, takes a few minutes from the Cloquet parade to open a sucker. She attended the parade with her twin, Quinn, and parents, Darrell and Emily Davey, all of Cloquet. Contributed by Hailey Ulvi7 / 12
IAFF Local 880 union member and firefighter Jeremy Hutchison watches while daughters Beverly, 5, and Katelyn, 3, hand out stickers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association after people donated. Jamie Lund/ jlund@pinejournal.com8 / 12
There were many people vieing for offices around Carlton County. Lara Wilkinson is running for Cloquet City Council. She showed up with a large group of fans to carry her signs. Jamie Lund / jlund@pinejournal.com9 / 12
Carl Schenk and Lil Lavoy work together calling the VFW bingo numbers during the Fourth of July festivities. Jana Peterson/ jpeterson@pinejournal.com10 / 12
Moose Lake Grand Marshal Larry Peterson waves to the crowd during the annual Fourth of July parade in Moose Lake. Contributed photo11 / 12
Members of the Minnesota Blast softball team celebrate with the crowd at The Veterans Celebration parade in downtown Cloquet. Jamie Lund / jlund@pinejournal.com12 / 12

While Duluth postponed its Fourth of July celebrations because of a threatening weather forecast, Cloquet's decision to "wait and see" paid off with plenty of sunshine for the midweek celebration of the birth of the USA.

Aside from a brief but windy rainstorm around 9:30 a.m. — during the middle of the Sawdust 5K race awards ceremony — the skies were clear for all Cloquet activities, from the parade at 11 a.m. to the fireworks that night.

After the parade, Veterans Park took center stage, with all kinds of free family-friendly activities, from bounce houses and a slide, to face painting, kids competitions like an ice cube race and water balloon toss, a pie eating contest and the always popular Dash for Cash, where children dig in the sand for quarters donated by local credit unions and banks.

There was live music from noon to sundown, featuring The Very Mysterious, The Jury, Woodblind and the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. In terms of length of activity, the live music was rivaled only by wiffleball, as players of all ages just kept on playing in the corner of the park that once boasted baseball fields.

Northeastern owner Bert Whittington said turnout for the car show was excellent and lots of people watched the fireworks over the St. Louis River there, too.

The crowds were enormous for the outdoor movie and fireworks at Veterans Park.

"I think we probably got a lot of people from Duluth who wanted to celebrate on the Fourth of July," Fourth of July committee coordinator Alyson Leno said. "It was a fantastic day, and it was nice to see so many people celebrating together. What a great community event!"