MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Each year the city of Delano has one of the largest and oldest Fourth of July parades in the state.
But last year intense flooding of the Crow River almost cancelled the festivities.
The river reached it’s second-highest level in history at more than 21 feet, spilling into the streets. Thankfully, the festivities went on with a few minor changes.
Not since the great floods of 1965 had the Crow River crept into Main Street, threatening existing earthen levees — and Delano’s biggest day of the year.
The Fourth of July parade attracts 30,000 people, so crews worked hard to shift plans around the flooding, and the show went on last year.
Mayor Dale Graunke says Three Crows coffee shop along the river had to shut down. He says the city then paid the owners to demolish the coffee shop and began plans to use state money to build a new levee to prevent future flooding and raise the land along the river by two-and-a-half feet.
“The proximity of the river to the street makes it hard to get anything in here,” Graunke said.
Graunke said plans were ready last year but needed to be scaled back due to cost, so the mayor said he decided to wait until Saturday’s Fourth of July parade is over to get started on construction.
Main street businesses are relieved to see the changes coming and relieved Mother Nature took it easy this Fourth of July.
“We probably have twice as many [customers] on a usual day, maybe even three times as many,” said Amelia Sutherland, owner of Linnie’s Ice Cream.
The mayor said last year’s soppy soil meant he had to rearrange some rides, but he’s holding on to some last-minute changes this year that he says ended up working better.
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. A lot of people already had their spots staked out, so it’s a good idea to get their early; the streets close at 9 a.m.
If you miss the parade, there’s a ton to do all day and fireworks at night.