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'We Had To Do Something': Ham Lake, Forest Lake Take Different Approaches To July 4th Celebrations

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Fourth of July looks a little different this year.

Some are celebrating with live fireworks, while others are using the internet to keep social distancing in place.

Despite fireworks cancellations across Minnesota, the Ham Lake City Council voted unanimously to let the show go on at Lion's Park. In an online statement, Mayor Mike Van Kirk compared canceling the patriotic holiday to canceling Christmas, adding that the city council helped make up the costs that would normally be covered by fundraising that was impossible this year. Van Kirk is asking people to be safe and practice social distancing.

READ MORE: 'We're Young And Healthy': Pandemic Not On The Minds Of Some 4th Of July Revelers On Lake Minnetonka

In Forest Lake, parade committee chair Marcia Smeby says they decided to go virtual this year, streaming their show early Saturday on Facebook Live -- complete with the Forest Lake Color Guard, a live national anthem and a flyover from four World War II planes. Smeby says the first parade was held in the city in 1924.

"Well, we had to do something. It just came down to we couldn't be like every other festival and just do nothing, so we had to think about what can we still do safety," Smeby said. "We decided to be unique and different and innovative because the community relies on us, and right now the people need hope. They need something positive to look forward to, and the Fourth of July is that."

Certainly, this year's Fourth of July celebrations are different, but all are finding their own way to celebrate in the red, white and blue.


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