Area Fourth of July slate plentiful
Honest Abe and Old Abe, a famous pair from the Civil War era, will be Wabasha's contribution to Fourth of July festivities in the area. An Abraham Lincoln historian will be at the National Eagle Center over the weekend to tell the story of the majestic eagle, Old Abe, that inspired Wisconsin's 8th infantry and accompanied the troops into battle.
Red Wing, Cannon Falls and Wanamingo will have activities and events from dawn until dark Saturday, plus some other communities will join in the Independence Day celebration late in the day with community gatherings culminating in fireworks. There'll be street dances and music in the area on Friday night as well.
The celebration begins a day early with the Island Block Party from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, with outdoor music by the Brian Kinney Band and fireworks at dusk. Admission is free.
The Fourth will begin early for runners participating in the annual Fourth of July Road Race at Bay Point Park. Registration starts at 7 p.m. The 10K steps off at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K at 8:40 a.m. A free children's 1/3-mile run will start at 9:30 a.m.
For people planning picnics, the Saturday morning Farmers' Market will have special music by Tim Fast, a singer/songwriter and guitarist, plus there'll be rug-braiding demonstrations. The market is open by 8 a.m. in front of City Hall, 315 W. Fourth St.
At 2 p.m., the Red Wing Aces and the Miesville Mudhens will meet for their annual July 4 contest, which will be held this year at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
The big event in Red Wing will be the six-hour concert marking the grand opening of the Central Park Band Shell. Entertainment will start at 3:30 p.m.; featured acts are the cast of "Fiddler on the Roof" at 3:45 p.m.; the Rosanne Cash Duo at 5 p.m.; Roomful of Blues at 6:45 p.m.; and the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band at 8:45 p.m. Admission is free; food and treats will be for sale. Rainout site is the Sheldon Theatre. BYO chair or blanket.
Those chairs and blankets will come in handy after the concert, as well. People will be able to walk down to the riverfront and watch Charlie Gardas' fireworks show at dusk from Levee Park, or drive out to Bay Point Park; the pyrotechnics are set off on Trenton Island, and will be visible from both parks.
Folks at Bay Point can settle in for the night in front of the two-story inflatable screen, where Cinema Under the Stars will present "Independence Day" after the fireworks. Entertainment before the movie will feature emcee Tommy Helmer with trivia, a t-shirt cannon launch and prizes, starting around 8 p.m. Ice cream and popcorn vendors will be on hand, added Nathan Keech of sponsor Look Media. Admission is free.
Few traditions have lasted longer that the Cannon Valley Fair, which will be under way for the 94th time. The Cannon Falls fair, which runs July 1-5, features a Fourth of July parade through downtown at 11:30 p.m., followed by harness horse racing at 1 p.m. and then Extreme Bullriding at 5 p.m. Fireworks are set off at dusk over the fairgrounds. Parking is free; admission to the grounds is just $2.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Cannon Falls, the 15th annual Fourth of July patriotic singalong honoring the memory of Gunnie and Luella Egge will be at 10 a.m. on the lawn of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Everyone is welcome; refreshments will be served.
@Sub Heads:Lake City
@Normal: Lake City will have evening entertainment in Ohuta Park then fireworks over Lake Pepin at dusk.
The National Eagle Center, located on the waterfront in downtown Wabasha, will unveil a new exhibit on July 4: "Old Abe: The Civil War Eagle," a historic tribute to one of America's most famous birds.
On Sunday and Monday, a Lincoln historian who bears a stunning likeness to the 16th president, Lance Mack, will be at the center. "With his natural black beard, identical frame (6 feet, 5 inches, 180 lbs.) and meticulously replicated attire, Mack easily assumes character and will tell the story" of Old Abe, spokesmen said.
Admission to the center is free to veterans and active military personnel. The facility will be open extended hours, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Friday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. For details visit www.nationaleaglecenter.org or call (651) 565-4989.
In addition, Wabasha offers fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Athletic Field.
The Fourth of July is Wanamingo's biggest day of the year, with festivities from early morning until late night -- plus a July 3 Fireman's Dance and picnic from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Polka Dots and Stiletto will play.
Saturday's events get under way at 6:30 a.m. with pancakes at Minneola Church. Starting around 9 a.m. there'll be "bouncies" for kids and a Family Olympics competition at the Buckstop including such events as the water balloon toss and three-legged chicken. Jim Yngsdal and Country Band will play at 10 a.m. at the Community Center, and the Zumbrota Community Band plays at 1 p.m. on Main Street. The kiddie parade will start at 1:30 p.m., followed by the grand parade at 2:30 p.m.
After the parade there'll be water fights, a duck float, a keg throw, horseshoes and beanbags. Four bands will perform in the evening -- the local group Lost Highway, the bluegrass/gospel band Down Home, classic rock band OFR, and the rock 'n' roll band Whiskerfish -- on two stages downtown. Fireworks will be set off at dusk.
Voices of the Valley, an interpretive program on the Cannon Valley Trail, will have special resource persons on July 4. Roger and Daniel Stein Rucker will demonstrate pigeons, Bruce Ause will show the eagle's nest, and DNR forester Melissa Gerken will speak from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Welch Station Access.