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City lights fire under fireworks

Fireworks likely will return to Red Wing’s skies this Fourth of July.

The Red Wing City Council agreed Monday to match funds up to $10,000 for next summer’s show, boosting Mississippi Alumination’s finances to make the fireworks a reality.

The city hasn’t funded fireworks in many years, Council President Lisa Bayley noted, but decided to consider a contribution for next year after the show did not happen this July.

A number of issues, including financially coming up short, caused the show to be canceled, which garnered much public attention.

The city agreed to match Mississippi Alumination’s funds up to $10,000 in 2014.

The necessary permitting for the fireworks show must be done by the second week in June, said Council member Mike Schultz, one of the members who helped form the agreement.

The group will give the city a list of contributions in April to determine matching funds.

“This is not an ongoing contribution, this is to get them re-started and get a match program going,” Schultz said.

Mississippi Alumination representative Sam Blue said the city’s contribution should help with the fundraising work.

“It gives us a tool to help raise money,” he said.

The group will keep its traditional can collection going to raise funds and also take donations from individuals, including online.

“It really can become the people’s show,” Blue said, noting while they will seek larger donations from businesses and organizations, smaller contributions from individuals are appreciated and will add up, especially with the city matching funds.

The group has typically aimed to raise about $10,000 for a show, Schultz said, and would like to bump that up to $15,000 in the future.

The fireworks will return to a launching site just across the river in Wisconsin.

Holiday Stroll preview

There will be a short “teaser” show just before the 6:50 p.m. lighting ceremony Friday during the Holiday Stroll, Jill Prahl of Downtown Main Street said. Attendees should be able to see the fireworks from downtown if they look toward the river.

That should help generate excitement for the full show’s return, Blue said, and the Fourth of July program is planned to be more “up-beat” and possibly could be set to music in future years.

The City Council’s vote was unanimous, though Council member Ralph Rauterkus emphasized the funding only should be for one year.

“I don’t think this should be a habit with the city,” he said.

More information on Mississippi Alumination, including how to donate, is available at

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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