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Ooh, ahh; fireworks planned

New Richmond's annual 4th of July celebration, complete with fireworks, is all set. Now the weather just has to cooperate.

The evening, sponsored by the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of New Richmond, begins Sunday at 7 p.m. at Hatfield Park (off Highway 64).

Kids' games, sponsored by the New Richmond Kiwanis Club, are part of the fun. A concession stand will be on hand staffed by the Star Prairie Lions Club and patriotic music will be played in the time leading up to the fireworks.

Families are invited to stop by for a picnic or refreshments prior to the show.

The big fireworks display begins promptly at twilight.

The display is put together by Speilbauer Fireworks Co. Inc. The fireworks show and the required insurance cost around $10,000, according to Chamber Executive Director Russ Korpela.

"A lot of people are amazed at how expensive the fireworks show is," he said. "Cost is definitely an issue."

As a result of the rising costs, Korpela noted, some communities have stopped having fireworks displays on July 4th. Others have moved their fireworks shows to other times of the year because so many displays are available for people to attend across the region.

Thanks to the chamber's annual Spring Sparkler golf event in May, New Richmond always seems to have enough money for its 30- to 40-minute July 4th show.

"So far the funding has worked out well," he said. "We always have a great fireworks show for a town this size."

The funding mechanism sure beats the years when Korpela was mayor of Ashland, and it was his job to find sponsors for fireworks there. He said he would walk throughout the downtown with a bucket seeking donations.

If the weather turns ugly prior to this year's show, Korpela said the fireworks display would likely be rescheduled for a time later in the summer.

"It won't be rescheduled for the week of July 4th though," he said. "It will be at a different time."

Deer Park

Fireworks will be set off on Friday, July 2, at Deer Park's yearly celebration. Also planned for Friday night are a softball tournament, bed races, chicken dinner from 4-8 p.m., music by TC Cats. The celebration continues on Saturday with a softball tournament, firemen's water fight at 10 a.m. and food.