Large fireworks displays and boat parades highlight Fourth of July celebrations across the lakes region over the weekend.

In Detroit Lakes, organizers of the July 4 fireworks show said this year was going to be the biggest they've ever attempted and it didn't disappoint Kathy Redfield of Moorhead whose family secured their spot on City Beach five hours before the dazzling show was to start.

"It was just as I remembered it," said Redfield.

This was her first trip back to the Detroit Lakes fireworks show in 20 years, she said. Adding that she and her family used to attend the event every year, but as family members got older and busier, it wasn't until she had 6-year-old, twin grandchildren to impress that her and her daughter decided to make the 45-minute trip down Highway 10.

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"Every summer, it was just our tradition, we'd come here early and swim, and have ice creams, and just wait for the fireworks," she said.

Redfield also said the reason they decided to come back to Detroit Lakes this year was because the holiday fell on a Sunday and most people have Monday off from work, so they didn't need to get up early. Also, with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling large gatherings last summer, Redfield said she was relieved when she discovered the city was moving forward with their planned event this year, which cemented their Fourth of July weekend plans.

Kathy Redfield, right, of Moorhead, Minn., views the public fireworks demonstration with her daughter and two grandchildren from City Beach in Detroit Lakes on July 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Kathy Redfield, right, of Moorhead, Minn., views the public fireworks demonstration with her daughter and two grandchildren from City Beach in Detroit Lakes on July 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

The display began around 10:20 p.m. and ran for about 30 minutes to the chorus of cheers throughout the demonstration from beach onlookers.

After the show, Redfield's grandchildren, Bergan and Bennett Huseby, said the display was impressive, loud and colorful.

"They were pretty colors," said Bergan Huseby, 6, of Fargo.

Her twin brother Bennett said, "They were cool."

He added the loud explosions reminded him of grenades, but said he would come back to see them next year if the family allows it. However, he added, the waiting was the hardest part and five hours on a beach might have been too much.

Earlier in the day, the Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie Improvement Association held a parade of 11 decorated boats around Lake Sallie in a counter-clockwise direction around the lake.

Decorations were judged by the association and, in a Facebook post, the Okeson family was declared the winner with their Scandinavian theme. Finishing in second place was the Michaelson family with their Olympic theme.