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Fireworks will start at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday at the fairgrounds in Fergus Falls.

Archived Story

Fergus Falls to host fireworks for first time in years [UPDATED]

Published 3:08pm Monday, June 30, 2014 Updated 3:13pm Monday, June 30, 2014

Nick Mariotti had friends at his cabin last Fourth of July, and he wanted to find a fireworks display for them to watch to round out the holiday.

“I was sitting there with my phone trying to figure out where the fireworks were and what time,” he said. “There were none. There weren’t fireworks. It blew my mind. It’s just something that we hear about all the time. People will tell you that they can’t believe they don’t have fireworks here.”

So, he decided to do something about it.

Now, Fergus Falls will be able to enjoy fireworks for the first time since 2008, thanks to some hard work and fundraising. The display will go off at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 3 at the West Otter Tail County Fairgrounds.

Mariotti and his business, Affinity Plus, spearheaded fundraising efforts to bring the colorful Independence Day display back to Fergus Falls. Earlier in June, Mariotti presented a check to the city for $13,648 toward fireworks. Money was raised through donations and various events in the community.

“It definitely was a lot of work,” Mariotti said. “It started small and just snowballed.”

The Fergus Falls City Council made up the difference in cost, adding $1,352 so the city could enjoy a $15,000 fireworks show. The city paid for fireworks through 2002, but the displays were cut entirely the next couple years for budgetary reasons.

“Everything got hit very hard,” said Mayor Hal Leland. “You had to look for everything you possibly could to cut the budget.”

Fireworks from 2006 to 2008 were paid for through fundraising dollars.

Leland said he is elated to see fireworks return to the city.

“Well, I think it’s just a wonderful effort on the part of the community participants,” he said. “We should have been having that kind of celebration all the way along.”

He hopes to see the fireworks continue for years to come.

“They become a family tradition,” Leland said. “I think we do need to make it an annual event. It’s very important that the community have these kinds of milestones and events.”

For Mariotti, it would be a disappointment if the fireworks didn’t continue on an annual basis. He’s working with local service organizations to see which ones might be interested in taking over the fundraising efforts.

It just takes someone to get up and do something about an issue, according to Mariotti. People complain about all kinds of things, and he doesn’t blame them. But in his case, he wanted to do something about it.

“Do something about it instead of just complaining about it,” he said.

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