Parades, street dances and fireworks: an Iron Range party (for America)

This is an older listing. This year’s schedule is here.


Fourth of July is a special time here on the Iron Range. Our immigrant ancestry and almost childlike adherence to the tenets of the American Dream make us a tad more nationalistic and militaristic than your average DFL political stronghold. It’s actually a fun combination, with enough beer and fireworks thrown in to make it palatable for all.

All three major DFL gubernatorial candidates are expected to tour the region for the parades and no doubt some lively discussions will occur! Remember, if you see Tom Rukavina in the back of a truck in one of the parades, you’re supposed to yell “Tommy, stand up!” He loves this! He will say something memorable to you and your family.

In keeping with my recent tradition I’ve rounded up one unified cross-Range Fourth of July parade/street dance/firework schedule. The local papers have a paywall now, so this is my version of rum running. You’ll have to root around more if you want the kiddie costume contest and VFW snoose run information for the town closest to your heart. New for 2010: color coding for your planning convenience! I’ve stuck to the interpretation of “Iron Range” that includes towns directly up and down the iron formation. Feel free to add corrections or additions to the comments if you have information on other nearby towns.

Blue=West/Central Range
Red=East Range
Purple=Iron Range occupied territories

Friday, July 2

  • Nashwauk-Keewatin All-Class reunion, 6-11 p.m. at Nashwauk Rec Center
  • Keewatin fireworks, dusk, with street dance all evening until 1 a.m.
  • Tower Riverfest (concert event with admission charge), 6 p.m. to midnight at the Tower Marina

Saturday, July 3

  • Tower parade, lineup at 10:15 a.m., 11 a.m. parade
  • Aurora parade, 6 p.m.
  • Gilbert evening parade and street dance, 7:30 p.m. with fireworks at dusk
  • Nashwauk fireworks, dusk, with street dance starting at 8 p.m.
  • Tower street dance, 8 p.m.-midnight, with fireworks at dusk

Sunday, July 4

  • Virginia parade, 9 a.m.
  • Swan Lake Floatilla (Pengilly, boat parade), 10 a.m.
  • Nashwauk parade, lineup at 11:30 a.m. with 12:30 p.m. start
  • Side Lake parade, featuring Veda Ponikvar, lineup at 11 a.m. for noon parade
  • Ely pipes and drums at 12:30 p.m. with 1 p.m. parade and various fun all day
  • Biwabik parade, lineup at noon, 1 p.m. parade
  • Keewatin parade, lineup at 1 p.m., 1:30 for Shriner motor display, 2:30 for parade
  • Virginia fireworks at dusk
  • Ely fireworks at 10 p.m.
  • Eveleth street dance, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., with fireworks over Grant Ave at 10:15 (1340 AM “Thunder over Eveleth” simulcast)

Monday, July 5

  • Eveleth parade, lineup at 8:30 a.m., parade at 9:30
  • Buhl, lineup at 8:30 a.m., parade at 9

You can find out more in places like the Hibbing Daily Tribune or Mesabi Daily News (subscription only) or at RangeBuzz, which has a great collection of links to individual cities under “Events.”

Larger towns like Hibbing and Grand Rapids along with places like Mt. Iron, Hoyt Lakes and Chisholm all focus their efforts on other summer festivals. Have a Happy Fourth of July on the Iron Range or wherever you may be!

UPDATED at 1:21 p.m., June 30 with new Tower and Aurora information.


  1. What about Side Lake? And Tower is doing their parade on the 3rd I’m pretty darn sure haha.

  2. Thanks Aaron! We tried to find out what was going on last year from the Hibbing Paper, but the only 4th information they published was a notice that there would be no paper on the 4th and a full page spread of their advertisers names superimposed on a flag. So helpful.

  3. I’ve got some updates regarding Tower and Aurora. And I’ve got Side Lake on the July 4 listing for their parade.

  4. Wow… I’m usually pretty good at finding what I need online but holy cow! I could not find a nice list of parades and fireworks on the Range. Thanks for this. I shared it on Facebook.

  5. I hope you’ll try to pull this together for 2014 — it’s amazingly difficult to know when each parade and street dance is being held! Thank you!

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