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74th Water Carnival bringing classic traditions and new events to Bemidji

BEMIDJI—Bemidji is just two weeks away from the beginning of the annual Fourth of July carnival, with the celebration of American Independence as the grand finale.

The 74th Water Carnival, presented by the Bemidji Jaycees, will get underway on Friday, June 29, and conclude with a fireworks display on July 4. Not only will this year's event have all of the classics but new features as well.

For example, at 11 a.m. on July 4, the carnival will have the inaugural Warriors March, a 5K which will bring participants along Lake Bemidji's South Shore.

"It's a way to bring awareness to the everyday struggles that our military veterans face," Bemidji Jaycees Chapter President Becky Kummet said. "The proceeds from the event will go toward helping veterans and their families during the holiday season."

Another new feature this year is the Timberworks Lumberjack show, with three demonstrations scheduled on July 3 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

This year's carnival will also offer a unique celebration of hockey. In the Paul Bunyan Park plaza at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 1, organizers of Bemidji Hockey Day Minnesota will announce the teams and day of the event.

Hockey Day is an annual event run by the Minnesota Wild and Twin Cities-based channel Fox Sports North, celebrating outdoor hockey across the state. Each year, the Wild select a community to host outdoor games.

The high school games and special features on Bemidji will be produced and broadcast throughout the day on Fox Sports North.

In addition, a pancake breakfast hosted by the Bemidji High School girls hockey team is also scheduled on July 1 from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at the Water Carnival Entertainment Tent, which will be in Paul Bunyan Park. Also, Nordy, the Minnesota Wild mascot, will be this year's Parade Grand Marshall.

Carnival schedule

The event will start at 5 p.m. on June 29 with Merriam's Midway carnival equipment starting at the Sanford Center and a log rolling demonstration at Paul Bunyan Park. That night, at the carnival tent, the Acoust Hicks are scheduled to perform from 9 p.m. 1 a.m.

Saturday, June 30, is Family Fun Day at the carnival, with a Kids Run at 10 a.m. in Paul Bunyan Park. A Kiddie Parade will follow at 11 a.m. and lunch in the tent is scheduled for noon. In the afternoon, the schedule includes a bike dig at 1:30 p.m. and a bald eagle water ski show at 3 p.m. That night Crosswater is set to perform from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

On Sunday, after the hockey related events, is the Grand Parade at 1 p.m. Other events following the parade include a boat regatta at 4 p.m., First City Sprints at 4:30 p.m. and a corn feed from 4 to 7 p.m. That night Street Talk is performing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Monday's events include a color run at Paul Bunyan Park at 6 p.m. and Steele River performing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

On Tuesday, July 3, along with the Timberworks show is the band Blue English performing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The final day of the carnival will feature the band Empty Cooler from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., as well as the fireworks display at dusk.

Merriam's Midway will have carnival rides running from 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and from noon through midnight for the rest of the carnival. The entertainment tent will have a Tappy Hour daily from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission for Merriam's Midway is $20 and admission at the tent is $2.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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