Starting as a civic activity as far back as the 1870s, Lake Minnetonka’s Fourth of July celebration has gone through many changes to become the loudest and brightest firecracker on the string. In the early days, greased pig races left the grass was matted and torn, and fireworks scorched the night sky and rattled the ribcages of onlookers.
In 1924 the Excelsior Amusement Park opened, entertaining the masses, doling out cotton candy to bouncing children and, of course, upping the ante of the magnificent Lake Minnetonka fireworks display for the next 30 years. All good things must come to an end to make room for even better things—like the July Fourth celebration in Excelsior Commons, where it remains today.
The STEELE Firecracker, an accessible 10K race, first dazzled the public in 1979 and remains wildly popular today. You can also participate in other exciting activities like the sand sculpture contest and Water Street parade at this year’s patriotic party—not to mention the aerobatic Lucas Airshow, which sends in helicopters, vintage airplanes and even an F-16 jet fighter to ensure the fireworks aren’t the only impressive display in the sky. Which is not to say that the fireworks aren’t impressive; their awe-inspiring patterns are now choreographed to a musical performance after dusk.
Make sure you go, and find out why Lake Minnetonka’s only public fireworks show is the only one you’ll ever need to attend.