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Fourth of July festivities bring patriotism to downtown Grand Forks

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Kylie Craig, 5, gets a shoulder ride from her father, David, during the Sertoma Kiddie Parade on 3rd Street in downtown Grand Forks on Wednesday morning. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 7
From left: Caylee Bolton, 8, watches the Kiddie Parade pass on 3rd Street with her sisters Destiny, 9, and Breawna, 10, late Wednesday morning in downtown Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 7
Attendees of the Sertoma 4th of July Festival pause to face the American flag raised by a Grand Forks Fire Department fire engine during a ceremony in Town Square on Wednesday afternoon. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald4 / 7
A Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies over Town Square during the Sertoma 4th of July Festival early Wednesday afternoon in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald5 / 7
Ryan Blakeney, right, pushes his nine-month-old son, Asa, in a stroller as they near the finish line for the Firecracker 5K Fun Run Wednesday morning on the Grand Forks Greenway. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald6 / 7
Grand Forks City Band piccolo players, from left: Shelley Bares, Janelle Huber, Joanne Gaul, Sarah Schmidt and Renae Knudsvig perform John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever" during Wednesday's Sertoma 4th of July Festival in Town Square. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald7 / 7

Decades of fun over the Fourth of July holiday in Grand Forks continued as hundreds gathered in the downtown area for a parade, games, music and fireworks.

The Sertoma Club of Greater Grand Forks held its annual Fourth of July Festival Wednesday, striking up cheers for patriotism. Early morning showers had some worried, but a sunny day cleared away any concerns weather would dampen the day, Sertoma Secretary Kay Derry said.

"Just look at the turnout. It's awesome," Derry said as she looked at the dozens of children who showed up to walk in the Kiddie Parade. "Not everyone goes to the lake, so we just like doing a family event."

The festivities bring a lot of people into the downtown area for most of the day. The Kiddie Parade at 11:30 a.m. was the kickoff event for Sertoma's festival, though the Altru Family YMCA first held a Firecracker Fun Run and Walk in the morning along the Greenway. Rain delayed the 5K and 10K events, but it was 80 degrees with slight wind and partially sunny skies by noon.

The Kiddie Parade gives children a chance to march down North Third Avenue toward town square as crowds lining the streets cheer them on. Children dressed in red, white and blue walked or rode on bikes, in wagons and in toy vehicles, smiling and waving to eager onlookers.

The activities continued into the afternoon with musical bands playing in town square. Sertoma also invited a multitude of vendors to serve food and provide entertainment, including a magician, inflatable games and a watermelon feed.

Sertoma has hosted Independence Day activities in Grand Forks for about two decades, but the annual fireworks show as been the club's main event for 60 years, Derry said. The pyrotechnics display brings hundreds of spectators to the downtown area every year—they often line the Greenway, downtown streets and parking ramps to get a good view.

Money raised by Sertoma's raffles is given back to community groups, Derry said. This year, proceeds from one raffle will go to Better Understanding of Down Syndrome, or BUDS. Funds raised by a separate 50/50 raffle will go toward the Grand Forks Veterans Memorial Park.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

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