It was an eventful week with Independence Day celebrations taking place across Aitkin County, from the parade in Hill City down to the fireworks in Garrison.

My family kicked off the long weekend at the Glen parade on July 4. Watching each float make its way down a dirt road lined with friends, neighbors and families made me proud to live in a community that has so much pride in its country. There were floats decorated with the colors of the flag, and many people (and pets) dressed patriotically for the occasion. Check out page B1 for the story and photos. A full gallery will be posted on the Aitkin Independent Age’s website.

Years ago, my brother and I rode in the back of my grandfather’s red dune buggy and tossed candy to onlookers. My cheeks were painted in glitter and red, white and blue flowers were in my hair. My brother wore a big Uncle Sam hat.

It was nostalgic to watch the parade together this year with our own children. When all was said and done, the kids went home with a gallon-sized bag of candy.

Then we headed over to the cabin for a weekend of relaxation, bonfires, good food and fun in the water.

Sometimes, we don’t realize how fortunate we are to enjoy the freedoms we have today. My grandpa said, “Those who never served ought to remember that there are guys walking around without limbs out there.” To his point, freedom is not free.

Hopefully, everyone had a great Fourth of July weekend because the summer fun has just begun. The 129th annual Aitkin County Fair begins on Wednesday, July 10. A full list of activities is available at http://aitkincountyfair.com/calendar/ and fair books are available at local establishments. Some highlights are the 4-H shows, Taste of the Fair, Midway, the kids’ tractor pull, bus races, classic tractor parade, musical performances, art demonstrations, a fashion show and Baja races at the grandstand. There is something for everyone, so come check it out.

Before we know it, Riverboat Heritage Days will be upon us on Aug. 1-4 with even more activities and events planned. More information will be available in the Age’s special section, Riverboat Days, closer to the event.

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