If something matters enough, we can make it happenSince 2005, when the venerable July 4th celebration in Cloquet nearly died for lack of organizers, various citizen groups have shouldered the yoke and brought the Fourth of July celebration back to what it once was — and more. Thanks to all who are and have been involved. May you be fruitful and multiply.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
What kind of memories of the Fourth of July do you have from the time you were a kid? For some of us, it may have meant a weekend at the lake or cabin, but for most, it meant flags, parades, games in the park, lots of good food to eat and the thrill of fireworks after dark.
Celebrating the Fourth of July is part of what childhood memories are all about. It’s one of the great American celebrations that has been around for longer than any of us can remember.
For decades, the local veterans groups in Cloquet spearheaded the Fourth of July celebration to honor the freedom of our country. Along the way, they helped create memories for kids of all generations.
As costs rose and other forms of support diminished, however, the two groups announced in March 2005 they could no longer continue
their sponsorship of the popular celebration.
At the time, they were hoping other community groups would take up the gauntlet and keep Cloquet’s Fourth of July celebration from going the way of Lumberjack Days by dying an uncertain death.
“It would be a sad day to see this memorable celebration die for lack of support,” we wrote on the opinion page of the Pine Journal in an attempt to sound the battle cry and elicit new forms of support before the cherished summer tradition ended.
“The success of the Fourth of July doesn’t hinge solely on marching bands or expensive displays,” our editorial went on. “The real success is when we get the entire community working together to celebrate what’s important to us as Americans — and help make memories for everyone. After all — it is our Fourth of July celebration, and if each of us is willing to support it with our collective time and talents, there is no reason why we can’t keep it alive. Just how much does it mean to you?”
Well, Cloquet, it must have meant a lot. Since that critical time when the venerable celebration nearly died for lack of organizers, various citizen groups have shouldered the yoke and brought the Fourth of July celebration back to what it once was — and more.
First, it was thanks to the efforts of volunteer coordinator Lisa Karulak, the involvement of American Legion Post 262 and the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee, who picked up the cost of the fireworks. Over time, others stepped forward to help lend support.
The past two years, a far-reaching network of community volunteers have helped spread the considerable effort over a broader base and the celebration has been enriched many times over. The fireworks display is bigger and better thanks to generous sponsorship by Shamrock Landfill.
Few will probably ever realize just how close Cloquet came to canceling its Fourth of July those few short years ago. Had that happened, Cloquet would have fallen silent on the very day in the history of our country that is designed for celebration and festivities.
Thanks to those who have stepped forward over the years to take the lead. You have become a part of our community’s history, and we owe you a much-deserved pat on the back.