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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Celebrate the Fourth up North!

Festivities will be rocking in Ely, Tower, Orr

Timberjay staff
Posted 6/29/22

Ely ’Rocks the Park’ELY - Ely’s Fourth of July celebration looks to be a weekend affair this year with the addition of a new music event to go along with all the traditional …

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Celebrate the Fourth up North!

Festivities will be rocking in Ely, Tower, Orr


Ely ’Rocks the Park’
ELY - Ely’s Fourth of July celebration looks to be a weekend affair this year with the addition of a new music event to go along with all the traditional favorites as the community celebrates the 246th birthday of America.
Rock the Park will be held Saturday, July 2, in Whiteside Park. Two musical acts, the Northwoods Band and Steve Ernster, will hopefully appeal to a broad audience, according to Ely Deputy Clerk Casey Velcheff, a member of the city’s Fourth of July organizing committee.
“We hope to make this new entertainment an annual event,” she told council members last week.
The event will run from 5-11 p.m. Beverages will be sold by the Ely Fire Relief Association, and some regional food trucks will set up in or around the park for the public event, Velcheff said. Admission requires the purchase of an Ely Fourth of July button.
Also on Saturday, the public is invited to join Boundary Waters Connect for a barbecue at the Chapman Street Commons, the new pocket park across from Wells Fargo Bank, from 4-6 p.m. They will have burgers, brats, vegan alternatives, classic barbecue fixings, beverages, live music and yard games.
Boundary Waters Connect, the economic and community development program of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, encouraged option online registration at
Ely’s Fourth of July parade begins at 1 p.m. on Monday. Lineup starts at 10 a.m. on Fourth Ave. from Harvey and Boundary streets on the west side of the ISD 696 campus.
The parade will follow the traditional route through the city: west on Harvey St. to Second Ave., then north to Sheridan St., then east through the city’s downtown district, past Whiteside Park, to Eighth Ave.
The city-wide celebration will also include the following events:
Raising of the American Flag at the Veterans Memorial (Trezona Trail parking lot), 7 a.m.
Janet Gensler Memorial Ely 4 on the 4th Run and Walk on Trezona Trail, 8 a.m. (see sidebar)
Picnic and family games in Whiteside Park, with lunch in the pavilion, sponsored by Young Life, 11a.m.-4 p.m. Needle in a Haystack starts at 11:30 a.m. Mattress races start at noon. Activities resume after the parade from 2-4 p.m. Family Fun Races start at 2:30 p.m.
A Family-friendly music event begins at 3 p.m. at Semer’s Park, featuring Waffle House Melee, Close Enough for Country, Van and the Free Candies, Simple Recipe, and Finn Hill. Bring your own chair and beverages.
Fireworks, shot over Miners Lake, will put a patriotic cap on the day at dusk. 
To contribute to Ely’s Fourth of July efforts, please contact the Ely Events Committee at or mail a donation to Ely Events Committee, PO Box 231, Ely MN 55731.

3 days of fun in Tower
TOWER - This year’s Fourth of July celebration includes three days of fun and special events. While the pancake breakfast, 5K/10K Run, Parade, and Children’s races are all set for Monday, July 4, there are special events starting on Saturday, July 2.
There will be a barbecue dinner fundraiser for the Tower Ambulance Service on Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at the Tower/Herb Lamppa Civic Center. Fireworks will be shot off from the north hill in Tower later that evening, at dusk, or approximately 10 p.m.
Sunday, July 3 features the annual Breitung Community Picnic from noon-3 p.m. This free picnic includes hot dogs, popcorn, and root beer floats. There will also be outdoor games and water play for the kids, so bring swimsuits if it’s warm enough. The winners of the Fourth of July raffle will be drawn at the picnic.
The 39th Annual Vermilion Walk and Run begins at 8 a.m. Registration on race day is from 6:30-7:45 a.m. sharp. Race start is by the Lake Vermilion Cultural Center, across the street from the civic center. There is a 5K run/walk, a 10K run, and a one-mile kids run. Email for a registration form or pick one up prior to the race. The cost is $20 per person on race day. Children 12 and under run free with a paid adult. The kids run is free. There is a $40 family rate for the 10K. There are free t-shirts (first come, first served) for all participants, and all finishers will receive a Vermilion Run vinyl sticker commemorating the race. The route this year has been changed due to planned construction on the Mesabi Trail, and it will be well marked. The race will start and finish at the same spot this year, by the intersection of North Second and Pine St.
The pancake breakfast takes place at the Tower/Herb Lamppa Civic Center from 8-10:30 a.m. with pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. This event is sponsored by the Tower-Soudan Civic Club.
There is a flag raising and the singing of the national anthem and other patriotic songs at 10:30 a.m. outside of Tower City Hall.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. There will be a flyover from the 148th Fighter Wing at approximately 11:03 a.m.
The kiddie parade will lead off the event. Children should line up at the intersection of Main St. and Birch St. by Ubetcha Antiques. All children are welcome to march, decorations are encouraged but not required. All children will receive $5, a flag, and a lanyard. Children need to be lined up by 10:45 a.m.
Parade floats need to line up in the Civic Center parking lot by 10 a.m. for judging. You can pre-register your float by calling Julie Johnson at 218-750-7242, or email
There are cash prizes for best of show, first, second, and third places, best family float, most patriotic float, and best business/commercial float.
This year’s honored citizen will be a remembrance of the late Phyllis Burgess, longtime editor from the Tower News.
There will be free hot dogs for children at the old Legion Building on Main St. after the parade. The building is now the home of Pins ‘n’ Needles, a new business that will be celebrating their grand opening on July 4 with a free pig roast (while it lasts), and other events.
There is a beer garden and food at D’Erick’s Tower Liquors, and outdoor drinks and food specials at Benchwarmer Grille. There will be food booths on Main Street. Sulu’s will be selling hot dogs and brats outdoors.
The children’s sawdust scramble starts at 12:30 p.m. at the school football field, followed by children’s races with cash prizes, and a few adult races once the children’s races are done.
The Tower-Soudan Fourth of July celebration is organized and funded by the Tower-Soudan Lake Vermilion Events Board. Donations are still needed; it costs as much as $30,000 to put on the event each year. After two years of reduced fundraising opportunities during the pandemic, donations are needed more than ever.
Please support, and encourage others to support this, as well as other events, by sending your tax-deductible gift to: Tower/Soudan/Lake Vermilion Events Board (TSLVEB), PO Box 461, Tower MN 55790.

Orr hosts Fun Day
ORR - For those who want a jump start on their Fourth of July festivities, head over to Orr on Sunday, July 3 for the annual July 3rd Fun Day.
The Sunday gala offers two options to get the day off to the kind of start that suits you best.
Registration for the ninth annual 5K run/walk will start at 8 a.m. at the Orr ice rink/tennis courts, with the race kicking off at 9 a.m. Advance registration is $25 for adults and $20 for kids 13 and under, with race day registration costing $5 more.
If you are not ready to start your day running, check out the Pancake Breakfast in the community center that runs from 7-10 a.m. Indoor and outdoor food and craft vendors will also be set up in and around the community center.
Luke’s Annual Tractor and Car Show is back, beginning at 11 a.m., and this year you’ll see more than tractors, as organizers have proclaimed, “If you think it’s cool and it has wheels, bring it! We want to see all your cool stuff!”
The always highly-anticipated Children’s Parade will get underway at noon, and this year anything goes – if it has wheels or legs, it’s welcome. To secure your child’s spot in the gala, be sure to register between 11 a.m. and the start of the parade.
The tractor show wraps up at 3 p.m., giving folks a little break before dashing over to the Orr Muni between 4:45-5:15 p.m. to register for the bean bag tournament that begins at 5:30 p.m. Registration is $20 per team with an all-cash payout.
A street dance featuring Wrecking Crew gets underway at 8 p.m., but everyone will want to pause and turn their eyes skyward at dusk for what’s traditionally been one of the best fireworks shows to be found anywhere across the North Country. Once that spectacle is over, there’s more dancing to enjoy until midnight.
For more detailed information, see the Orr’s July 3rd Fun Day page on Facebook.


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