Iron Range Fourth of July 2020

The week surrounding the Fourth of July on the Mesabi Iron Range combines patriotism, public drinking, explosives and a lovely shade of twilight. PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown

It’s time for another Iron Range Fourth of July in Northern Minnesota. And this one is the strangest ones I’ve tried to cover.

COVID-19 caused the cancellation of many traditional Iron Range Fourth of July celebrations. Others were reduced to just fireworks. And, in response to the changes, communities either postponed or developed alternative activities.

Regardless of economic or political winds, the region traditionally unites for an exuberant observation of Independence Day. In local custom, the festivities often last several days (up to a month during layoffs).

Below is MinnesotaBrown’s annual Iron Range Fourth of July listing for parades, fireworks displays and street dances centered in the days before and after Independence Day. This list mostly covers the Iron Range, Brainerd Lakes, Bemidji and Duluth areas.

This Iron Range Fourth of July schedule is a start, for people planning to catch several celebrations or wondering what fits into family schedules during a trip to the Iron Range.

You’ll see a list of other popular local events happening after the Fourth of July at the end.

You might also enjoy my popular essay “Things You Will See at Your First Iron Range Fourth of July.”

Iron Range Fourth of July

Celebrate the 4th of July in Northern Minnesota

Graphic image by Aaron J. Brown based on the iconic Benjamin Franklin political cartoon.

Prominent cancellations

  • Tower parade
  • Mt. Iron parade
  • Eveleth street dance and parade
  • Keewatin parade, fireworks, and street dance
  • Nashwauk parade and street dance
  • Side Lake Parade
  • Debs Parade
  • Hill City parade, fireworks & street dance (private restaurant holding its own activities)

Friday, July 3

  • Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival (July 1-5, alternative events due to COVID-19)
  • 6 p.m. – Aurora emergency personnel parade through town
  • 9:30 p.m. — Brainerd boat parade (southside of Pelican Lake)
  • Dusk – Aurora fireworks
  • Dusk – Orr fireworks
  • Dusk – Eveleth fireworks
  • Dusk – Gilbert fireworks
  • Dusk – Pequot Lakes fireworks

A Steelworkers Fourth of July float in an Iron Range parade. PHOTO: United Steelworkers, Flickr CC

Saturday, July 4

Sunday, July 5

Looking ahead:

  • July 26-28: Effie Northstar Stampede Rodeo
  • Aug. 28-30: Embarrass Region Fair 
  • Aug. 30-Sept. 2: Bovey Farmers Day (limited activities, fireworks planned)

Midsummer events to be rescheduled for later date

This year’s directory was a challenge to produce. Did I miss something? Contact me directly.

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Aaron J. Brown is an instructor at Hibbing Community College. His blog MinnesotaBrown.com covers Iron Range news, politics and culture. He created, hosted and produced the Great Northern Radio Show and co-hosts and produces the podcasts Power in the Wilderness and Dig Deep on Northern Community Radio. His book “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range” won a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. He’s working on a new book called “Power in the Wilderness.”