Fourth of July Parade Returns to Cloquet, Honors Healthcare Workers

CLOQUET, Minn.– The Fourth of July is a time that brings people together. Last year in Cloquet, the city’s Fourth of July parade was unable to go on due to COVID-19. It’s back this year, honoring healthcare workers who helped get us through the pandemic.

Crowds packed the sidewalks along Cloquet Avenue for the return of the city’s Fourth of July parade.

“We are blessed to have great weather today instead of rain and thunderstorms like two years ago,” said organizer Karin Stedman.

With local healthcare workers honored as the grand marshals of the parade.

“It was really a no-brainer. They have worked so hard during this pandemic,” said fellow parade organizer Jana Peterson.

Parade planning was delayed until March because of the changing COVID guidelines. Now on July 4th, organizers are happy to see Cloquet residents enjoy the nation’s independence together again.

“I think it’s wonderful that we can be back normal, well almost normal and back to doing the things we love on the holidays,” said Stedman.

“It’s really great to be able to have the community together just to celebrate,” said Peterson.

Fire trucks, local businesses and more made up the 70 floats in the parade. But at the front was the healthcare workers leading the way as grand marshals.

“We were delighted and honored to be represented and to be asked to do this,” said Jenny Barta of Carlton County Public Health and Human Services.

Jenny Barta and Joanne Erspamer were just two of the handful of workers walking. While being on the front lines fighting COVID-19 has been tough, they add that it’s been the community getting vaccinated that’s helped the Northland gain its independence from COVID-19.

“This is definitely a milestone that we’ve been hoping to reach,” said Barta. “We’ve been stuck at home with stay at home orders and to stay 6 feet apart, wearing masks. But now with so many people vaccinated in our communities. We have great vaccination rates with is wonderful.”

The parade’s return allows families to make summer memories again. Joe polo and his family came down from Hermantown after seeing the parade in 2019 and were excited to see a big return in 2021.

“The fourth is a great holiday,” said polo. “It seems like it’s kind of the start of summer and we can enjoy a little bit of the heat and the great weather that we’re having today. It’s going to be fun.”

Other events in Cloquet on Sunday included a 5K race and a classic car show capped off with fireworks Sunday night.

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