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Dave Olson, Published June 06 2013

Bonanzaville plans to rival MSUM for July 4 fireworks

WEST FARGO – The Fourth of July is big enough for everybody.

That’s how David Wahlberg reacted to word that Bonanzaville, a pioneer village and museum in West Fargo, is planning a humdinger of a Fourth of July with a daylong list of events capped with a fireworks display at dusk.

“I don’t think it’s going to cut into our market,” said Wahlberg, executive director of marketing and communications for Minnesota State University Moorhead, which is sponsoring its 41st annual Fourth of July celebration this year.

MSUM’s Fourth of July event has pretty much been the only game in town, but the university scaled back its July Fourth activities in recent years from an all-day extravaganza to more of an evening celebration.

Uncertainty about MSUM as a venue for July Fourth activities is one reason Bonanzaville started thinking it should host one of its own, said Julie Portillo, sales and marketing coordinator at Bonanzaville.

Portillo said organizers started out thinking small, but the responses they received made them aim higher.

Portillo said if the event is a success, Bonanzaville and West Fargo could become a regional destination for Independence Day.

And that would be fine with Wahlberg.

“This is a growing community,” he said.

“Actually, I think this could be good in the sense that it encourages families to come together and celebrate the Fourth of July,” Wahlberg said.

Portillo hopes at least 2,000 people attend the Bonanzaville celebration that begins the morning of the Fourth with a 5K/10K run starting near the Vietnam Veterans of America building at 1892 6th St. W.

The races will be followed by a parade at 11 a.m. at Bonanzaville.

There will also be a scavenger hunt lasting all day at the pioneer village, with volunteers dressed as historic figures roaming the grounds.

When hunt participants have checked off all of the characters on their scavenger cards, they can turn the cards in to be eligible for door prizes.

Other events include:

• A barbecue picnic.

• Horse-drawn wagon rides and train rides.

• Cricket games.

• A pet adoption event.

• Inflatable games.

The day ends with a fireworks display made possible with support from the city.

MSUM’s activities start at 7 p.m. with inflatable games.

The annual kiddie bike parade starts at 7:30 p.m. and the Lake Agassiz Concert Band will also start playing at that 7:30.

The Front Fenders will perform starting at 8:30 pm.

Fireworks will start about 10:30 p.m.

Bonanzaville will charge its regular admission prices on the Fourth – $10 for adults: $8 for seniors, military personnel and students; and $5 for children.

American Crystal Sugar Co. is sponsoring MSUM’s fireworks display, while Moorhead Public Service is the sponsor of the MSUM kiddie bike parade.

Other sponsors of the MSUM event include Bremer Bank and Greenberg Roofing.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555