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Amy Dalrymple, Published April 24 2009

MSUM scales back Fourth of July events

Fourth of July events at Minnesota State University Moorhead will be scaled back this year due to the university’s budget problems.

Fireworks, evening entertainment and the 10K run are still on, but the afternoon games and activities are canceled.

Dan Kirk, vice president for administration and facilities, said officials decided cutting back on the July Fourth events was appropriate given the projected $9.2 million budget deficit and layoffs that are possible.

Cutting out the midday events saves the university about $20,000, Kirk said.

“We felt like at least for this year, the way we’ve proposed to structure it, it was the right thing to do,” he said.

The old-fashioned parade and a kiddie parade that typically are in the afternoon will be moved to the evening.

The fireworks and evening events cost about $15,000.

Those will be funded with sponsorships or other private money, not state funds, said Gwen Johanson, who is coordinator of the July Fourth activities.

Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said he’s glad MSUM is keeping some of the events, but he knows people looked forward to the family-oriented activities during the day.

“I think it will be missed by the residents of this entire area,” Voxland said. “It’s too bad, but I understand.”

This will be the 37th year for a community July Fourth celebration at MSUM.

Kirk expects the 10K run, which is funded with entry fees and sponsorships, will continue to grow this year.

Shifting the parade to a later time will likely boost the evening attendance as well, Kirk said.

MSUM will reevaluate the event for next year.

People who have heard about the changes have been understanding, he said.

“I think they generally feel that it’s the right thing to do given the circumstances we have right now.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590