Cloquet: Fun on the FourthSummer appears to have settled in just in time for the annual July Fourth celebrations. In Cloquet, that means a 5K run in the morning, followed by a whole day’s worth of family fun.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Summer appears to have settled in just in time for the annual July Fourth celebrations.
In Cloquet, that means a 5K run in the morning, followed by a whole day’s worth of family fun.
Festivities begin with the third annual Sawdust 5K starting (and ending) at Pinehurst Park at 8 a.m.
Downtown festivities start with the Veterans Celebration Parade at 11 a.m. — it’s not too late to enter — followed by activities at Veterans Park. Park activities kick off at noon, following the parade, and include the popular Dash for Cash, live music by Everybody’s Uncle, bouncy castles, pony rides, wiffle ball games, face painting, food vendors, crafters and farmers’ market vendors, a “sprinkler run” and possible skateboard demonstrations. Evening activities — bring your blanket and bug spray — include a magic show at 7:15 p.m., “Spiderman” on the big outdoor movie screen at 8:15 p.m. and, of course, the fireworks start at dusk, approximately 10:10 p.m.
Here’s what Hermantown resident Rich Heine had to say about last year’s event in the Pine Journal last year.
“It just reminds me of a classic July Fourth,” Heine said while waiting for the Dash for Cash to start (two of his daughters participated in the digging). “It’s everything you think a small-town celebration should be. It reminds me of a Jimmy Stewart, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ sort of thing.”
Tractor-pulled wagons will provide shuttle transportation between Veterans Park and activities at The Beach in Pinehurst Park, where Cloquet Community Education will have fun and games for everyone for the price of admission.
Those who go straight from the parade to Veterans Park are invited to stop by the Cloquet Area Fire District Station 1 for an open house and treats on the way. As well, there is a classic car show at the Northeastern Saloon & Grille just a block west of Veterans Park.
“I know a lot of families like to get away for the Fourth, but I can’t imagine a better atmosphere than the one here in Cloquet,” volunteer Jana Peterson said. “It’s just good, wholesome fun and a great community event. No politics, although lots of patriotism, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. In fact, if your kids do well in the Dash for Cash, they could even buy their own mini donuts like my kids did last year.”
For the first time recently, there will be a beer tent, strictly monitored by The Jack’s Adam Bailey, whose bar has also been a favored entry in the past two July Fourth parades (anyone remember Lady GaGa?).
There will also be plenty of eating choices for those with a yen for fair food. The wrestling team will sell B&B Market brats and burgers, plus there will be mini donuts, corn dogs, cheese curds, ice cream, kettle corn, freshly squeezed lemonade and more available for purchase.
While the events are free to those who come, there are lots of costs associated with the event, especially the fireworks. For the past two years, Shamrock Environmental Landfill has been the major sponsor of the fireworks display — donating $5,000 toward the cost of the fireworks — while the Cloquet Noontime Kiwanis Club is the major sponsor of several of the free family activities at Veterans Park throughout the afternoon, including the pony rides, three bouncy castles and a bounce kickball game, as well as the evening movie.
A number of other businesses, service clubs and community members donated time and money as well to help out with the day-long festivities. Boldt Construction is sponsoring the magic show, while K1 Sports is sponsoring the wiffle ball games, run by Eric Peterson and officiated by Tyler Korby. (Anyone can play, just talk to Eric on the Fourth.) Several area bank and credit unions donated coins for the Dash for Cash, a children-only event where kids (organized by age groups) get to dig through sand for hidden money.
Although sponsorship is up, general donations from the community are down, according to volunteer Ryanne Battaglia, Members Cooperative Credit Union vice president and the July Fourth committee’s financial wizard. Battaglia estimated donations are down to the tune of about $1,600 over last year and expenses are up slightly.
Last year the donation from Shamrock meant the fireworks display was more than 50 percent larger than the previous year, coming in at a total cost of $8,500.
This year, unless more donations come in over the next few days, the display may be slightly smaller, although still bigger and better than some of the previous years’ displays.
Donations are still being accepted to pay for entertainment, fireworks and other expenses related to the July Fourth festivities. There is an account set up for July Fourth donations at Members Cooperative Credit Union. People can contact Alyson at the Tourism/Chamber office with questions at 879-1551.
The Cloquet event is organized entirely by a volunteer committee — including John Badger, Ryanne Battaglia, Renee’ Birman, Alyson Leno, Jeff Leno, Steve Opstad, Jana Peterson and Barb Wyman — and is not sponsored by the city of Cloquet, although city staff certainly play a significant role in preparation and cleanup.