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Messages from the President

Fourth of July Fabulous Fireworks - July

By: Ann Tanski | July 7, 2016

As a little girl growing up in Superior, the fabulous Fourth of July parade was always the highlight of my holiday. Waving flags with my sisters while sitting on the curb, anxious to catch loads of candy then a trip to A & W for a frothy root beer float.

In upper elementary and junior high years, I joined fellow 4-Hers as we saddled up our horses, donned matching red, white and blue western shirts and performed drill team exercises we’d practiced since school let out for summer vacation. Riding high on my mild-mannered Arabian, Duke, every single year.

Once in high school I traded in my equestrian experience to march with the band and perform on the pom pon squad (dancelines didn’t exist back then.) If kids couldn’t snatch it up quickly enough, candy thrown from floats would melt after a few seconds on the hot pavement, sticking to the bottom of our shoes. Of course nothing was as sticky as a wool uniform in the sweltering heat!

Each celebration was topped off by a spectacular fireworks extravaganza, and though parade days are a distant memory, fireworks remain a keystone of my Fourth. Months in advance Visit Duluth is busy working with the pyrotechnic company that designs the show, securing permits from the U.S. Coast Guard, coordinating launch site preparations with the fire marshal and selecting music to broadcast simultaneously with the fireworks.

In addition to patriotic themes featured in the musical line-up, this year we included a tribute to Prince to honor his memory, along with selections from bands playing as part of the DECC’s 50th anniversary celebration in August.

Speaking of the DECC, their talented team organizes the City of Duluth Fourth Fest at Bayfront Festival Park. This free family event begins at 4 pm with outstanding musical acts to keep the crowd entertained until the fireworks begin promptly at 10:10 pm. As the sun sets the Aerial Lift Bridge is illuminated in red, white and blue, providing a dramatic backdrop for evening festivities. Details available at

It takes a significant investment of time and financial resources to manage the logistics of Duluth’s incredible Independence Day Celebration. The efforts of many partners combine for an extravaganza that showcases our city in all its glory to proud locals and visiting spectators.

Last year, AAA and the U.S. Travel Association projected July 4th travel generated an economic impact exceeding $15 billion nationwide. Early indicators show 2016 could top that number.

Timeless traditions of picnics, parades, sparklers and fireworks are carried forward through generations as we honor the meaning behind this holiday. Whether you’re celebrating with pigtails and cowboy boots or clarinet and pom pons, wishing you all a safe and happy Fourth of July.