MINNEAPOLIS – It’s like Halloween with no candy, or Thanksgiving without a turkey.
For another year, both Minneapolis and St. Paul have scrapped plans for large Fourth of July fireworks displays.
The summer tradition used to draw thousands to the cities.
Before the booms above the Stone Arch Bridge, relaxing tunes flow from the hands of Michael Sawyer has he strums his banjo. The musician, who goes by Clawhammer Mike, always performs at the Fourth of July festivities downtown.
“Fireworks, so colorful, so loud, just a way that we can all come together and kind of celebrate,” he said.
There won’t be as much of a celebration this year. Red White and Boom will be significantly downsized, meaning no fireworks.
Construction at Father Hennepin Park is one reason since that area often hosted concerts and families cooking out. Staffing is the other. The Minneapolis Parks and Rec department said hiring is down 70% this summer across the board.
News of no fireworks for the third straight year lit a fuse with some people, especially those commenting on WCCO’s Facebook post.
Some feel the city isn’t being patriotic, others blame crime, and some simply are disappointed Minnesota’s largest city continues to go without a large display.
“I can empathize with those that feel strongly about it,” said Brady Ross, who added that he’s indifferent.
“Modern life, it kind of doesn’t have many traditions anymore. So you want to hold on to the ones we have. If it’s fireworks, then that’s a good tradition,” Sawyer added.
At the same time, many feel there’s no need to get upset about Minneapolis not having fireworks.
“I don’t really care. I think that there are other things we should be worrying about,” said Christine Walker, who lives not far from where Red, White, and Boom takes place.
“I feel like it’s not that big of a deal, I mean, like you said, there are other shows,” Adden Vaj added.
Across the river in St. Paul, baseball fans at CHS Field will get to watch three straight nights of fireworks starting Friday, if they buy tickets to the Saints game.
CHS Field used to collaborate with the City of St. Paul to put on 4th of July fireworks shows. That changed in 2018 when Mayor Melvin Carter made the decision to stop funding them.
“The fact of the matter is we just don’t have $100,000 to spend blowing up rockets over our city,” Carter said five years ago.
“He’s probably right. We probably do have better things to spend money on. But you know, you don’t want to ever discount people coming together and having a good time and facilitating that,” Sawyer said.
Whether Minneapolis puts on a show or not, many are looking forward to finding other ways to celebrate.
“I think the point of July 4th is maybe just to have fun, be with family, be with friends, eat a burger. Do something American,” Vaj said.
Other major cities in the Midwest including Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis will have fireworks shows for the holiday.
Countless suburbs across the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota will host fireworks shows as well. Clickto learn where and when.
For those still eager to see fireworks in downtown Minneapolis, a large show is scheduled for Aquatennial on July 23.
Source: CBS Minnesota