Independence Day weekend is a Currie tradition 30 years strongCURRIE — For more than 30 years, the city of Currie has been the go-to spot for a fireworks show on Independence Day, and this year is no different in that respect.
CURRIE — For more than 30 years, the city of Currie has been the go-to spot for a fireworks show on Independence Day, and this year is no different in that respect.
According to Dave Woitaszewski, president of Currie Town & Country Booster Club and a member of the Currie Fire Department, both the booster club and the Independence Day weekend celebration began back in the 1970s, and the fire department has been in charge of setting off the fireworks each year.
“The fire department started doing the fireworks in 1976 or 1977, right around the centennial,” Woitaszewski said. “The first year they did it they used the hard cardboard tubes. One exploded inside the tube and blew the hubcaps off the pickup. That’s when they decided to build the steel tubes.”
One of the fire department members attended classes to learn the correct way to set off the fireworks, and each year the department discusses the safety aspects of the event beforehand.
“We’re dressed in full gear,” Woitaszeski said, speaking of the turnout gear firefighters wear. “If one rocket goes up a little ways and explodes, people think it is kind of cool, but we’re down there scattering because we usually have the next one in our hands.”
The safety of the people who will watch the fireworks is always of utmost importance to the department, and the men are careful to check wind direction so they can block off part of the street.
“We don’t want people to be under the fireworks and get burned,” Woitaszewski stated. “We mark off areas we don’t want people in to keep everyone safe.”
Many departments have the fireworks electronically set off, but Currie still does things the hands-on way. They generally have 12 to 14 department members present for the big event.
“You have to have a license from the state of Minnesota to shoot them off like we do,” Woitaszewski explained.
The fireworks, however, are not the only game in town — literally. The Currie July 4th Spectacular weekend, sponsored by Currie Town & Country Booster Club, includes softball, volleyball and bean bag tournaments.
Perry McNeil, organizer of the men’s slow pitch softball tournament, said he has 14 teams signed up this year.
“That is the most we have ever had,” he stated. “The payout to the winning team is $800.”
Softball begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and McNeil said they hope to be done by 10 p.m. the first night and by the time the fireworks go off Sunday. The teams who have signed up are both local and from farther afield, and include players from Worthington, Currie, Marshall, Slayton and other communities.
The bean bag tournaments, sponsored by the Currie Fire Department, will be both 7 p.m. Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday.
“We kind of started it last year, but this year it’s bigger,” Woitaszewski said. “There are a lot of people interested in bean bag these days.”
At last count, Woitaszewski said, there were about 15 teams signed up for the volleyball tournament, which begins Sunday at 9 a.m. There are three courts available — two at city hall and one at Roosters bar.
“We just got done getting the ones at city hall ready at 10 p.m. last night,” Woitaszeskiw said Wednesday.
To appease rumbling stomachs, the Sons of the Legion will sponsor a waffle breakfast from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the fire hall, and the booster club will have its annual picnic and membership drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in the city park.
There will also be a few food venders in or near the park, he added.
“Pretty much everything we have lined up is going to happen by or in the park,” Woitaszewski said. “Town & County put in new playground equipment at the park, too, for the kids.”
The fireworks begin at dusk Sunday, but in the event of inclement weather, the display will likely be moved to the following night.
“Hopefully this year we won’t have to worry about rain,” Woitaszewski said with a laugh.