Photo contest, Elk River Idol to add ‘flare’ to Fourth

Planning for the third annual Elk River Independence Day celebration at Lions Park is coming along nicely.

Admittedly, the fund drive for the fireworks display has a little ways to go if the citizen-led committee is going to be able to put on another $15,000 show, but I have faith in the people of this community — its residents, the business owners and leaders of community organizations — that they will come through as we march toward Wednesday, July 4.

Significant strides, however, have been made toward linking service clubs and community organizations together to give this event a shot at remaining an annual celebration. More on that another day, though.

We’re excited to announce for this year that Shane Martin and his band will be the headline act and we have lined up retired WCCO radio broadcaster Dan Hertsgaard to be the emcee this year.

John Rosner, the director of the Elk River High School band program, has pulled together another Red, White and Blue Alumni Jazz Band for the show. We might even have some drummer boys strolling through and/or some dancers to accompany them if we can line them up.

Members of the Elk River Independence Day Committee are equally excited about some of the new ways people can plug into this event.

We are planning an Elk River Idol contest, hoping that the students who participate in talent contests at the local elementary, middle school and high school come forward to audition June 20. This could be great fun and a good way to show of local talent.

In talking with the leaders of next year’s Elk River DECA program, it’s clear that idea of Elk River Idol has them intrigued. They put on Snowstorm, a talent contest that helped them raise $7,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association this year.

Our contest is also targeting middle school and elementary school students as well as pre-school children who have unique abilities.

Please encourage potential participants to sign up by e-mailing [email protected] to request an audition registration form be sent to you for completion. After all registrations are in, contestants will be e-mailed a confirmation with their audition time.

We’re also calling all professional and amateur photographers to take part in a photo contest that will build off of the City of Elk River’s branding effort. Winners will be highlighted at the Fourth of July celebration.

The goal of the contest will be to showcase photographs that help tell the story of what of  Elk River. In other words, what energizes you. The top 10 photos will be on display at the Independence Day celebration and elsewhere throughout the year.

The Elk River Independence Day celebration is a great time to celebrate all things Elk River. We have much to be proud about, especially with the way this community comes together and cares for each other. For instance, Elk River has been certified as a Yellow Ribbon City.  This has taken a lot of legwork on the part of many to bring this about, and its cause for considerable celebration.

Elk River is committed to helping servicemen and women and their families while they are away and once they return to civilian life. Efforts are being made to make recognition of this program part of this year’s Independence Day program. It seems like a great fit.

I would be remiss without coming back to the topic of the fund drive for fireworks. We all know how much pyrotechnics — or the absence of them — energize this community. Whether you are a citizen, a business leader or a part of a community organization, consider giving a donation to help make this event a success.

Our group hopes that the third time for this event is a charm, and we can begin working on next year’s event to make it even better and continue to develop ways to bring the community together to achieve success in whatever we set out to do. This past year it was Yellow Ribbon, and those efforts will continue. Who knows what else next year will bring? For now, lets pause to celebrate.

Please visit and make your contribution today. Or drop off or mail a check to the Star News at 506 Freeport Ave. N.W., Elk River,  Minn. 55330. Checks must be made payable to “Rivers Edge — Fourth of July Fund.”

There are also donation bins scattered throughout the community at local businesses, and some businesses like Burger King and Rockwoods are running specials to raise funds for the Fourth of July fireworks.

And if you haven’t given by July 2, consider coming that night to Tip Night at Elk River Pizza Ranch. Local community organizations will be there to bus tables and collect tips from restaurant patrons. Consider it a pre-Independence Day celebration. — Jim Boyle, editor