The fireworks are back! After a one-year absence, Detroit Lakes' City Beach will once again host an Independence Day fireworks show, starting at dusk.

"That usually ends up being around 10 or 10:15 (p.m.)," says Mark Fritz, who along with Lakeshirts partner Mike Hutchinson, has been organizing the annual fireworks show for more than 25 years — though last year's show was canceled due to state-mandated pandemic safety restrictions on large crowd gatherings.

"It's going to be huge — our biggest show ever," Fritz said of this Sunday's fireworks.

Because there were no July 4 fireworks in Detroit Lakes last year, some of the funds donated by area businesses toward the annual event were carried over to this year, Fritz said.

In addition, the fact that 2021 is Detroit Lakes' 150th birthday also factored into organizers' decision to increase the annual budget for the July 4 fireworks from approximately $20,000 to $30,000 this year.

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"We're going to be lighting them (the fireworks) from three different barges this year ... not just one," Fritz added. "There will be one main barge and two auxiliary barges.

Though Fritz and Hutchinson haven been organizing the event for more than 25 years now, they will be receiving a little assistance this year — from Todd Simison of TS Dock & Lift.

"He's our co-chair this year," said Fritz, adding that Simison had donated the extra barges to use for the show as well as assisting them with the coordination.

The biggest contribution, however, comes from local businesses and organizations, which donate the money to purchase the fireworks every year.

"Our area businesses always step up and help," Fritz said. "We have such a generous community. Without their help this show wouldn’t take place. It's one of those things that takes a whole bunch of people to get it done."

The Stars and Stripes were heavily featured in the boat and pontoon decorations for last year's July 4 Boat Parade on Lake Sallie south of Detroit Lakes. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
The Stars and Stripes were heavily featured in the boat and pontoon decorations for last year's July 4 Boat Parade on Lake Sallie south of Detroit Lakes. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Boat parades set for area lakes

While some area lake associations canceled their annual July 4 boat parades last year, Lakes Melissa and Sallie did not — and the Lake Sallie event drew one of its largest contingents ever, with 17 boats.

The Lake Melissa-Sallie Association is bringing the event back again this year, with boats departing from the Shoreham channel at 10:30 a.m. sharp and proceeding counter-clockwise around their respective lakes.

"No registration required — simply join in," says "Commodore" Gail Tronnes, who leads off the annual parade on Lake Melissa with her boat. "About 60 decorated watercraft of all kinds will be participating."

Even those who don't have boats can join in the festivities, Tronnes added. "All are encouraged to decorate themselves, their docks, homes and properties in celebration of Independence Day."

Trophies will be awarded for the best decorated docks, homes and properties, as well as best costumes. One word of caution for parade participants, however — "be careful of shallow water," Tronnes said.

The Floyd Lakes will be hosting boat parades this year as well. Big and North Floyd Lake participants will meet at the Floyd Lake Point sandbar for registration, while Little Floyd participants are asked to congregate at the Nodsles' dock, starting at 10:45 a.m.

Both parades get underway at 11 a.m.; there will be no rain date this year. Questions? Contact Mark Nodsle on Little Floyd Lake at 218-234-1117 or Kari Klingsporn Hitterdal for North/Big Floyd Lake at 701-306-7783.

The Long Lake Betterment Association has also announced that there will be a parade on Long Lake this Sunday. Watercraft pilots are asked to congregate at the public launch, proceeding south at 1 p.m. Participants are also asked to complete at least one full circle of the lake if possible.

Last but not least, Lake Eunice residents are invited to participate in the lake association's annual boat parade, which gets underway at 11 a.m. Participants are asked to gather in the middle of the lake, then proceed around the lake in a counterclockwise direction.

Music, music, music — and a few laughs too

There's plenty of musical entertainment to be had in the lakes area this week, starting with Thursday night's Trucks & Tunes at the Detroit Lakes City Park Bandshell. The Cropdusters will present their Country Bluegrass Blowout starting at 5 p.m., and there will be a plethora of area food trucks to choose from as well. The festivities start winding down at 8 p.m., so make sure to come early and join in the fun.

Over at Richwood Winery, local favorite Gordy Bridgeford will be performing from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. — followed by a live comedy show at 6 p.m. featuring the humor of comedians Gary Pattison and Spencer Thomas. There is no cost to attend either show. Call 218-844-5990 or visit for more information.