Old-Fashioned Fourth returns to Blooming Prairie

Published 9:39 am Friday, July 3, 2015

By Ashley Stewart

Owatonna People’s Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — For more than 40 years, thousands of people have gathered in Blooming Prairie to celebrate the Fourth of July.

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And this year, the organizers of the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration are hoping for the same.

“It’s a celebration for the community to get together with their families to celebrate and to showcase the community,” said Becky Noble, Blooming Prairie Chamber of Commerce director. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

This year as in years past, the event will feature activities for people of all ages, including a few new ones.

“We try to have something fun to get all ages involved,” said Lisa Meyer, Fourth of July Celebration events co-chair with Suzi Burt. “It’s tough to get people out on the holiday, but we try to appeal to everyone.”

Meyer said the parade is the highlight of the celebration, which has about 75 units this year.

Karen Kruckeberg, Fourth of July Celebration parade chair, said the parade will feature marching bands from Albert Lea, Austin and Blooming Prairie’s own Stix of Fury as well as a variety of others, including some new.

“All I hope for is nice weather,” she said. “That’s all I can ask for. I feel bad when the weather is bad and people drive here for it.”

Kruckeberg said the parade draws units from Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna and Rochester.

“It’s a good variety,” she said. “People will enjoy it.”

Although construction is slated for Main Street in Blooming Prairie this summer, Kruckeberg said the parade will follow the same route as in the past and will run on Main Street.

“They’re starting two days after the celebration,” Noble said.

Noble said aside from the parade, there will be some new events taking place on July 3 and July 4, such as a pie judging contest, a pickle judging contest, a stick horse racing contest and a hula hoop contest.

“We were looking for some old-fashioned things to bring to our old-fashioned celebration,” Meyer said.

Noble encourages people in the region to bring their finest pies and pickles to the City Park during the celebration to be judged.

For those who’d like to participate, call Burt at 507-251-2627.

As many as 20,000 people come to Blooming Prairie for the Fourth of July every year, Noble said, and it draws people from the surrounding communities as well as out-of-state relatives and alumni.

And despite this year’s Fourth of July falling on a Saturday, Meyer encourages people to come check out the activities.

“It’s hard to predict the numbers when it falls on the weekend, but we hope people will still come out and celebrate with us,” Noble said.

The celebration will end with fireworks at 10 p.m. at Victory Field.

Noble said throughout the years, the cost of the activities like the parade and fireworks have increased so she decided to start a GoFundMe page for the Blooming Prairie Fourth of July.

According to the page, which can be found on the Blooming Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, Noble is hoping to raise $20,000 for the event, but so far, $580 has been donated.

She said the celebration’s future will be contingent on donations and volunteers.

In 2017, the city plans on celebrating its 150th anniversary, so the event may be even bigger, Meyer said.

For questions about the celebration, call the Blooming Prairie Chamber Office at 507-583-4472.