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Fireworks, live music and fun for the fourth

DETROIT LAKES - Friday is Independence Day, and the city of Detroit Lakes will have no shortage of entertainment for visitors and residents alike this holiday weekend.

But of course, the main attraction has always been the fireworks -- and this year is no exception.

Lakeshirts' Mike Hutchinson and Mark Fritz, who have co-chaired the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce's fireworks committee for many years, are planning a few surprises for Friday night's presentation.

"It won't be a whole lot different from last year's show," Fritz said, adding jokingly, "It's hard to improve upon perfection. But there will be some little twists here and there. It should be a good show."

In all, there will be about $11,000 in fireworks disbursed during the festivities -- about the same as last year, Fritz said.

"We're very fortunate we get so many different donations from across the community," he continued. "It's really a community event. Most all of the businesses in town contribute -- we're very grateful for their support."

Though the fireworks display itself used to be run by hand, courtesy of the Detroit Lakes Fire Department, and then by a group of volunteers, Fritz said he and Hutchinson decided to go with a licensed pyrotechnic operator out of Sioux Falls about 4-5 years ago.

"We built a barge specifically for the fireworks show several years ago," he said, adding that the barge is stored elsewhere in town when not in use. "It's all done electronically now -- it's just a lot safer that way, a lot more choreographed."

Fritz said the fireworks show is scheduled to start "around 10 or 10:15. A lot of it depends on how dark the sky is that night."

If the show starts before the sun has set completely, the visibility decreases, he explained. "It's going to be a great show, in great weather," he said. (The forecast for the weekend is sunny and warm.)

But the late start to the public show won't stop the crowds from breaking out the sparkling wheels, fountains, ground spinners and novelty items such as snakes, glow works, smoke devices and trick noisemakers -- all of which are legal fireworks for the public to use under current state law.

Unfortunately, there will also be fireworks of the less-than-legal variety, which include firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, lady fingers, helicopters, aerial spinners Roman candles or any other kind of explosive or aerial pyrotechnic device.

"We spend quite a bit of time chasing the illegal stuff down," noted Detroit Lakes Police Officer Robert Strand. "We'll get a lot of calls."

The largest number of complaints will come in late at night, he added.

What many people don't know, Strand pointed out, is that "a fireworks violation is a mandatory court appearance (for the person charged)."

Anyone found in possession of explosive fireworks in the amount of 35 pounds or more will be subject to a $3,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both. If it's less than 35 pounds, they are still subject to up to 90 days in jail and/or a $700 fine -- which is the same penalty as that assessed for illegal fireworks of the non-explosive variety.

Besides Friday's annual Fireworks on the Beach, there will also be live music at Lakeside Tavern, Zorbaz and the Lodge on the Lake throughout the weekend -- not to mention a dance at the Pavilion every night, Thursday through Saturday starting at 9 p.m. (Nightstorm is the featured entertainment).

On Thursday, the Lodge on the Lake continues its Live at the Lodge series with a performance by jazz duo Dave Ferreira and Russ Peterson at 7 p.m. Thursday, while Zorbaz will host a concert by the Other Side Blues Band starting at 8 p.m.

Lakeside Tavern will host five bands on three nights. The lineup includes both Rock Bottom & Tripwire on Thursday night, Scarlet Haze on Friday, and Van Halen Army & Wildside on Saturday.

Here is a brief listing of some of the other activities and events scheduled for the lakes area this weekend...

Let's play ball

The 8th Annual Volleyball Beach Blast will take place at Snappy Park on Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5.

Co-ed teams of six participants will play on Friday, and men's doubles teams will play on Saturday.

Organizer Chad Wertz asks that participants register by July 1, but he said he could accept some teams after that date as well.

To register, call Wertz at 218-850-1972. Fees are $120 for co-ed teams, and $40 for men's doubles.

Check-in the day of the tournament is at 9 a.m. and play will begin around 9:30.

Wertz said cash prizes for first and second place will be available.

In baseball action, the DL Angels will take on the Frazee Flames at Washington Park on July 4. The first 150 fans will receive an Angels poster at the gate.

First pitch is at 7 p.m.

A plethora of parades -- on boats, that is

The boat parade on Pelican Lake will kick off at the yacht club dock at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4, and move clockwise.

The theme for this year is favorite TV how. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated pontoon. A free lunch will follow at the yacht club grounds.

All boats competing must pre-register and have a number affixed to their craft and complete the entire route. Boats must maintain a 100-foot interval and follow a single file.

Leading the parade will be Pelican's classic speedboats. Classic boats from other lakes are welcome.

The boat parades on Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie begin at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th.

On Lake Melissa, boats begin at the old Village Resort/river near Shoreham. On Lake Sallie, gather at Maloneys/Michaelsons.

Themes are the participants' choice, but since the judges are anonymous, participants must appeal to all observers, never knowing who may be deciding the outcome.

Categories for trophies will go for decorations, participation, and enthusiasm.

Lake Seven's boat parade on July 4 will begin at 11 a.m.

All entrants should meet at the DNR's public access on the north shore of Lake Seven at 10:45 for instructions.

Boats will travel counter-clockwise around the lake.

Prizes will be awarded at the end of the parade for the most patriotic, most original and most enthusiastic.

The boat parade for Floyd Lake, which includes Big, Middle, and Little Floyd Lakes, will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 4, meeting at Floyd Lake Point.

Participants are asked to register at 1:45 p.m. prior to the parade. Prizes for best theme, and others, will be awarded after the parade.

If inclement weather is a problem, the parade will be moved to Saturday.

The Fourth in Frazee

A kids' fishing derby will start at 5 p.m. Friday, on the pier at Town Lake.

Kids will have an hour to fish, and the one with the biggest fish at the end will get a prize.

Following the derby is Frazee's third annual Freedom Fest, full of games for kids and food for picnics at Lions Park.

Fireworks will conclude the day's festivities, beginning after dark, around 10 p.m.

Detroit Lakes Newspapers intern Courtney Sinner contributed to this story.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454