The Prior Lake Association’s annual Fourth of July Boat Parade and fireworks extravaganza is back and ready to light up the lake in red, white and blue this Independence Day.
The popular event is set to kick off at 1 p.m. on the Upper Lake near the docks at Charlie’s on Prior, 3950 Green Heights Trail SW. After a brief judging period, the sheriff’s boat will lead the parade under the Hwy 21 bridge, through the channel and to the lower lake.
Adam Proehl, PLA president, said he and other club members are looking forward to the clever themes contestants come up with this year.
According to PLA, the contest had 26 entrants last year including three “Top Gun” themes, a unique Candy Cove tribute, a Minions-inspired Laker Pride float, a loon-themed float, a pirate ship and numerous patriotic displays.
“We’re just excited to see what kind of floats show up. Every one of those floats is a lifetime memory for families or a group of friend and neighbors,” Proehl said. “It doesn’t matter how elaborate or simple the float decoration is. It’s just great to see everyone out there every year.”
Proehl said the event is so popular every year because residents and spectators get really into the spirit of America’s birthday.
“It’s the Fourth of July on the lake on a hot summer day,” Proehl said. “There’s no better place to be with a few of your closest friends.”
Proehl added that judging starts promptly at 1 p.m. on the Upper Lake near the docks at Charlie’s on Prior. The sheriff boat will lead the boats around the judge’s boat which should be completed by 1:30 p.m. The sheriff’s boat will then lead the parade under the bridge through the channel to the Lower Lake. The parade will end just past Watzl’s Beach.
“Don’t worry about anyone else’s entry. Just focus on your own and make some memories with friends and family by getting a little creative and taking part in the day,” he said. “Unfortunately, not everyone can win the prizes and everyone always has their own individual thoughts about who the top entries are every year.”
The grand prize is $500, with second ($250) and third ($100) places also winning cash prizes. Winners of the Most Patriotic and Best Laker Pride categories will also win $250 apiece. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/2p9ca238.
Fireworks showLater in the evening, the 57th annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show, which is also sponsored by PLA, will be lighting up the sky at 10:15 p.m. and will be launching from Watzl’s Beach.
This year’s display cost $25,000, same as last year, thanks to generous donations from several local businesses, organizations and community members.
“We lucked out this year. After last year’s fireworks, our supplier informed us we’d likely have to pay substantially more for this year’s show due to inflation and shipping cost pressures,” Proehl said. “Thankfully, that never came to pass and we’re getting the same level of show this year that we did last year.”
Proehl also said the association’s is very close to reaching its fundraising goal to cover the fireworks show.
“We’re very close to our fundraising goal, and we’re hoping to get over the top by the Fourth,” he said. “No amount is too small and the fireworks don’t happen without the support of the community.”
Proehl said residents and businesses who wish to sponsor can do so at https://www.priorlakeassociation.org/.
Lastly, Proehl said there’s only one rule during the patriotic holiday festivities.
“Have fun and be safe. The Fourth is one busy, busy day out on the lake and you will encounter a lot of inexperienced boaters,” he said. “We do what we do because we love Prior Lake and we couldn’t do it without the community behind us.”