Monday’s program and display expected to top last year’s
by Jim Boyle
Elk River’s tradition of capping off Independence Day with a fireworks display made a triumphant return last year, and this year’s promises to be an even better show.
New traditions are developing with this event, planned by a citizen-led Independence Day Committee. Local talent, local volunteers and local food vendors will be on hand to make the second annual Fourth of July event at Lions Park a go.
The Elk River Red White and Blue Alumni Jazz Band will make its debut at Monday’s Independence Day celebration. The group of 21 musicians will include 14 alumni who have graduated in recent years plus some current Elk River High School students.
“It’s all homegrown talent,” said John Rosner, the Elk River High School band director who is leading the alumni band. “They’re all pretty excited to play for the community. Things are coming together very well for it.”
Elk River Red White and Blue will perform between 6:30 and 8 p.m.
There will be a flag-raising ceremony prior to that about 5:30 p.m. at the Ray Schwartz Korean War Memorial in the park near the Elk River Boys & Girls Club.
Cub and Boy Scouts as well as Girl Scouts will be among the list of locals to volunteer at the event. So will members of the Elk River Independence Day Committee, Elk River High School’s DECA program, Young Life and the high school’s band boosters.
Joe Mayne of Elk River will be the emcee again this year. “I am honored to be asked,” Mayne said.
There will be a three-round volley and presentation of colors at 6 p.m. by the Elk River Police Honor Guard and Elk River scouts, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
The jazz band will take the stage after this.
Rosner said the jazz band will perform, among other songs, “Blue Skies,” “Moondance,” “In the Mood” and “Georgia.”
There will be an Independence Day skit again this year by a trio of actors from the Elk River Community Theatre. The skit will be at 8 p.m. There also will be people on the grounds promoting the upcoming production of “The Phantom of the Opera.”
The Dodge Street Bandits, who is back by popular demand, will perform afterward, and after a short break for a program at 9 p.m., it will return to provide the prelude to the fireworks show.
The program will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence Preamble and the American’s Creed.
“We’re looking forward to playing under the lights,” said Will Wojcik, a member of The Dodge Street Bandits. “Last year’s crowd was the biggest one we have played for yet. This year it will be even bigger.
“It was incredible at night to watch the park fill in. There wasn’t an empty square in that park by the time of the fireworks.”
For more info, including a map and a list of donors that made this event possible, visit www.elkriver4th.com.