No raining on July Fourth parades across Twin Cities metro

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Ryne Zuzinec was taking no chances this Fourth of July.

With Minneapolis Parks officials expecting 75,000 people to attend the Red, White and Boom fireworks on the Mississippi River downtown, Zuzinec showed up to Father Hennepin Bluff Park more than 10 hours before the show.

“I’m pretty well set for now,” Zuzinec said, sitting on a collapsible chair in the middle of a large, empty lawn. “No competition (for space), just for me.”

Across the Metro, people attended for Fourth of July fireworks and parades Thursday. Sunshine gave way to brief rainstorms, but it didn’t rain on many cities’ parades.

In St. Paul, crowds lined up several people deep along Como Avenue for the Grand Parade. Organizers said the event was in its 72nd year.

Many kids along the parade route were mostly interested in the promise of candy.

“I’m looking forward to all the candy and all the fun surprises,” said 7-year-old Lucille.

Other children said they were excited for fire trucks and others who were in the parade.

“She was talking about the floats and every two minutes it was, are we there yet daddy? So she’s excited,” said Nathan Strom of St. Paul as he sat with his daughter Elliana, son Noah, and wife Anna.

The Como Avenue parade was over with plenty of time to attend one of the Metro’s many fireworks shows – though St. Paul was without one for the second straight year because of budget cuts.

The Minneapolis show was scheduled to start at 10 p.m., to cap a night that also included kids’ games, food and live music on both sides of the Stone Arch Bridge downtown.

Robin Smothers, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Parks department, encouraged people to take public transportation or find parking and walk to the event.

Only lightning or severe weather would cancel the event, she said.

“We say everything is rain or shine,” Smothers said. “I can’t think in the last 10 years of one time when the weather has impacted the fireworks, but they make that call right before 10 p.m.”

The $16,000 show, funded without taxpayer money, is scheduled to run 20 minutes this year and the grand finale has been extended by one minute, Smothers said.

“When the fireworks light up and you see the Stone Arch Bridge, it’s just a breathtaking view,” she said. “It’s an iconic view. It’s Minneapolis.”