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Wander Minnesota: Independence Weekend

The Fourth of July is next week Thursday, and not surprisingly, it looks like many communities are going to have festivities spilling over into the weekend that follows. Besides the usual community fireworks and parades, there's a lot to choose from around the state. If your Fourth of July plans take you out of the metro, you'll find plenty to do. Here's a sampling.

Hill City is one of the communities that's spreading its Fourth of July celebrations through the entire weekend. A triathlon, BBQ wars, pancake breakfast, live music, antique tractor parade, horseshoe tournament, remote control airplane demonstration—there's definitely something for everyone.

In Menahga, the Midsummer Festival kicks off on 7/5 for three days of carnival rides, fireman's water fight, kid's fishing derby, 5K and 10K walk/runs, and plenty of food and live entertainment.

Deer River also has a three-day event starting on the 5th: the annual Wild Rice Festival. Events include a midway, fun runs, medallion hunt, flea market, Bingo, Pow Wow, bike rodeo, parade, music, and even a kiddy tractor pull.

Near Bemidji, July 5 is International Day at Concordia Language Villages. Centered at Waldsee, the German village, the day includes parades, a soccer tournament, films, food, and tours of the other nearby villages.

The Little Crow Ski Team will perform the evening of 7/5 in New London. This water ski team has won two national and 16 regional championships—they take their water skiing very seriously.

On 7/6, the historic southwest Minnesota town of Pipestone offers a Ghost Walk. Given that the entire downtown of Pipestone is on the National Register of Historic Places, it's not hard to imagine a fun supernatural tour into some of its fine old buildings.

Also on the 6th, in Waseca, is Chautauqua. This is a replication/reinvention of a festival that used to take place in Waseca in the late 1800s, and includes live roots music, guided nature walks, interactive theater, and crafts.

The town of Pine River has a goofy event on the 6th: Duck Races. Don't worry, animal lovers, these are not real ducks, but decoy ducks.

Duluth hosts the Twin Ports Bridge Festival on the 6th at Bayfront Festival Park. The festival, designed to raise environmental awareness concerning Lake Superior, has an eclectic musical lineup this year, including Cloud Cult, Mason Jennings, and the Kingston Trio.

Outside of New Ulm on 7/7, the Harkin Store is having an old-fashioned family carnival, with hand-designed games and activities for kids and cold lemonade and watermelon for everyone.

Brainerd stages its 39th Art in the Park on the 7th, with 140 juried artists exhibiting and selling their artworks. Food and music will be offered as well.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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