Following a previous discussion of potential Fourth of July celebrations, the Cloquet City Council authorized a contract with fireworks company Pyrotechnic Display Inc., at its Tuesday, March 2, meeting.
Pyrotechnic Display is the first company to be hired by the city for the 2021 Fourth of July celebration. The contract calls for the city's Fourth of July Events Committee to pay an estimated $13,000 for fireworks.
The council first discussed potential events to mark July 4 at a Feb. 16 meeting. At that time, council members wanted officials to look into options for possible events without getting too ahead of themselves. The city's Fourth of July celebrations were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Obviously we are all aware that the COVID pandemic still continues … and needs to be considered when we take a look at events coming up,” city administrator Tim Peterson said.
This year, the council said they hope to at least host a fireworks show for the public, presuming the pandemic allows it to happen safely.
“It’s just unpredictable,” Mayor Roger Maki said, and emphasized that officials need to approach summer events with a “wait and see” attitude.
Councilor at-large Lara Wilkinson supported trying to move forward with both a fireworks show and a parade. While it is difficult to speculate, she said those events could likely be held as normal or with slight modifications, an idea that was echoed by other council members.
Peterson said the fireworks and parade take the longest to plan — a fact that prompted officials to sign the fireworks contract at the meeting Tuesday.
Many council members used the term “cautiously optimistic” to describe planning summer events, and cited hope for low numbers of positive cases and high numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations.
They said Fourth of July events will also depend on what surrounding cities decide to do. If Duluth chooses not to hold a fireworks show, more people may come to Cloquet for the event, which could interfere with COVID-19 safety.
Council member Sheila Lamb, Ward 2, shared that she would like to include the Cloquet Police Department in the planning process to assure public safety, as well as the safety of local officers.
If leaders choose to cancel the fireworks display, the city may still be held responsible for percentages of the cost depending on the cancellation timeline, according to the contract.
The Fourth of July Events Committee said they are anticipating some difficulties with fundraising for the 2021 event and stipulated that the city may have to pay for a portion of the fireworks if they are unable to raise all of the funds. The council approved a motion to do so.
Peterson said he does not anticipate there will be any issues fundraising that amount.
City leaders have made no official actions towards planning a parade or any other Fourth of July events, but Peterson said the events committee is discussing further actions to bring before the council in the near future.