No July Fourth fireworks for you, St. Paul

One of the best parts about adopting Minnesota and St. Paul when we came here 26 years ago was the Fourth of July Taste of Minnesota fireworks over the Minnesota Capitol.

The great lawn was packed with people. The scene could not have been more Minnesotan. More American. More perfect.

The Taste became a tacky carnival, moved to Harriet Island, where it died from its own irrelevance.

On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter officially drove a stake through what was left of the holiday in his city.

Fireworks on the 4th of July have long been an Independence Day tradition in our city as a way to commemorate the…

Posted by Mayor Melvin Carter on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Visit St. Paul lists a grand total of five things to do on the Fourth of July in the city. One of them is “get outside.”

Update: It’s apparently a $100,000 expense.

  • John

    Ha – and two more of them are:

    1 – Eat something at a restaurant
    2 – Go watch soccer in Minneapolis.

    Might as well add Go somewhere else to watch fireworks.

  • Dan Lind

    unreal. Not sure how to verify this, but I’m willing to bet that St Paul will now be the only capital city in the country not holding a fireworks celebration on Independence Day.

    There must be a corporation out there willing to step up and sponsor this. The PR goodwill alone would be well worth the cost…

    • I’m guessing the St. Paul fireworks display costs around $100k in total expense.

      /The St. Cloud display of a few years ago was about $65k in total.

      • Jeff C.

        You are correct — $100,000.

        “As we considered all these factors this year, including the costs for
        fireworks, insurance and city department costs including fire, police
        and public works, the mayor could not in good conscience support
        spending upwards of $100,000 from the city’s budget.”

        • Need to spend that money to replace the RiverCentre parking garage. So that people who drive downtown to enjoy the nothing that’s happening there can have a place to park. :*)

    • maamamar

      Permits, supporting city services (fire and police and traffic control), ÷ the cost of the fireworks.
      The planning should have started after all the complaints a year ago.

  • Jeff C.

    I hope this doesn’t mean that even MORE people will have backyard displays. I can’t stand it when people shoot off their own firecrackers at 10pm, 11pm, midnight, 1am, and, yes, even 2am in my neighborhood. A**hats. If anyone has any suggestions for how to stop them, please let me know.

    • Barton

      (puts on grumpy old woman hat) Remember the grand old days when fireworks – except sparklers – were illegal in MN? How fondly I remember those quiet evenings at home – were going to the capitol (or the state fair grandstands) for a community event of fireworks was one did. That way those of of us up in the morning weren’t sleep deprived and neighbors weren’t having to drug their dogs to keep them from completely losing the plot.

  • boB from WA

    You can always celebrate with them on the 1st. And you get to sing the greatest national anthem ev-er!

    • it really is.

      • Gary F

        Bob, best fireworks ever was a Jacobs field about ten years ago after an Indians Twins game. The went on forever.

        • jon

          Best fireworks display I ever saw was when I was a kid in the south suburbs of chicago… it did not last forever… or even the expected amount of time… a ground fire caused all of the fireworks for the whole display to go off over a course of a few minutes.

          • Gary F

            Growing up we used to park in the Carlton Celebrity Room parking lot and watch when the Twins had them at Met Stadium. So close to the launcher the ashes would fall on you.

          • That sounds…dangerous.

            Best firework display I’ve seen was grenade launcher training at Fort Benning. Then again, I was one of many shooting those things…


        • Yep, been there on fireworks night a few times. They’re really good.

          Oddly, ones that impressed me the most, though, were in Hazelwood Park in Maplewood about 25 years ago, though.

  • Gary F

    If I knew that money was going to more cops, or replacing ash trees, or fixing the roads, I’d be OK with it.

    But it won’t, it will go to some feel good program that makes everyone feel warm inside.

    • Jeff C.

      > some feel good program that makes everyone feel warm inside.

      Isn’t that what a fireworks display is?

      • Jerry

        If you’re not careful, fireworks can make you feel warm on the outside too.

      • Gary F

        Yes, and the money still won’t go to basic city services.

        Don’t tell me we don’t have any money. Capture the flag, without someone winning?

        • Jeff C.

          They have the money – nobody said they don’t. Spending money on activities that promotes fun and physical exercise is good. Spending $100,000 on things that explode (and pollute the air and frighten dogs and children) is bad.

      • tarry_on

        BOOM! (couldn’t resist)

  • John Maddening


  • Nichole S

    I’m confused, is it more American to be conservative or liberal with tax dollars?

  • For the past couple of years, we’ve enjoyed the fireworks show put on by the St. Paul Saints from CHS Stadium. It’s not always ON the 4th of July … but so do some communities and suburbs also not do their fireworks shows on the 4th, either. We find a spot to sit near the curb on 7th St., near the Lafayette Bridge, outside the stadium.

    FYI, this year, the Saints’ Independence Day fireworks will happen on July 2nd, after the conclusion of their game with Fargo-Moorhead.

    • Gary F

      Saints had great fireworks a couple of Fridays ago. Some of them were shot out of an oscillating launcher. Really cool.

  • lindblomeagles

    In all honesty, our fireworks’ show just wasn’t the same once it left the State Capital grounds. The Harriet Island location was exclusive, and the same can be said of the Saint Paul Saints’ stadium location. I blame Tim Pawlenty, who, as Governor, removed fireworks and the taste from the Capital grounds, and gave the deal to a private business which eventually went defunct.

    • I’m pretty sure Taste of Minnesota was privately managed by Ron Maddox even at the Capitol grounds.

  • Jim in RF

    Absolutely fine with this. Fireworks are way overrated and terrorize my dogs.

  • maamamar

    After the criticism of the display the last couple of years, couldn’t someone have worked on corporate sponsorship and plans for future years?
    It’s really easy to whine and complain.
    Planning and organizing take a little more effort.

    Step up if you want something going forward….

  • Jack Boardman

    We loved the fireworks when they were at the capitol grounds & in spite of the Waste of Minnesota moving them to Harriet Island (we could at least see them from the High Bridge), CHS Field? NOPE!

    • The problem with CHS Field is they can’t shoot the fireworks very high because of the St. Paul downtown airport airspace.

      • Jack Boardman

        I get that. If I had my druthers, the display would be back at the capitol grounds. Oh well.

  • Angry1541

    I am perfectly okay with fireworks, if it was just the municipality that was doing them — but in Saint Paul it’s war zone for entire week of the 4th, to where I can’t let my dogs out for a number of hours each night because they get terrified by people blowing stuff up.

    I mean, that’s really what this is — not one person blowing off fireworks gives two stones about our ‘indepenence’ or what fireworks really represent — not anymore. It’s just and excuse to watch/hear things explode.

    So, I will not miss fireworks.

  • Karen a.

    So, the mayor creates a new position for former council president, Russ Stark, and the tax payers pay his $105,000 salary, but fireworks are not in the budget? Hmm.

  • Reginald L

    About 217,000 servicemembers served during the Revolutionary War (The War for Independence); 25,000 died of wounds or disease. Saint Paul is saving $100,000 because the cost for Fireworks will break the city’s budget. I often wonder how much a servicemember life is worth. Let’s see 217,000 divided by $100,000 equals less than 50 cents. Very disrespectful.

    • Huh?

      What would be a great way to honor vets is to restore the freedoms and embrace — maybe even read –;the declaration and bill of rights. Doesn’t cost a dime.

  • Kong Moua

    This is probably the most disgraceful news I have ever heard in my 25 years living in MN. Its not even about liking or not liking firework, its about celebrating independence day and when a capital city of a state can’t afford firework, there is something very wrong here. I call for this mayor to step down because I never thought such a disgraceful thing could ever happen to this state or any state in the US while we are still a country.