By WCCO Reporter Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prior Lake was a popular attraction for families celebrating Independence Day Sunday.

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Nessa Riveraa and her husband spent the holiday on Sandy Point Beach. The couple took advantage of the 90-degree weather by taking the boat out.

“It’s a lot of fun, seeing other people link boats, enjoy the sun, see the fireworks at the end of the night, so we’re excited,” Riveraa said.

On the other end of the beach, you can smell Brian Sheffield’s grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It’s a long-standing Independence Day tradition for his household.

“We come down to the lake for the last probably decade or so,” Sheffield said. “For the last four years I just got the pontoon.”

(credit: CBS)

Prior Lake visitors like Jamie Petrellis say the Fourth of July is also a day to celebrate independence from COVID-19.

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“This is how we do Fourth of July every year. It makes it even better this year now that we’re not under COVID restrictions,” Petrellis said.

Eagan resident Shadd Whitcomb and his volleyball community are finally back together after last year’s pandemic.

“It’s a long time coming,” Whitcomb said. “Many of these people, we haven’t seen in 18 months.”

As gatherings remain festive, Scott Kinnane of Eden Prairie said it’s important to remember the reason behind this great holiday.

“It’s the beginning of our country. It’s the people that sacrificed to get us here, right? Our freedoms, our flag, the national anthem,” Kinnane said.

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Fireworks in Prior Lake will launch Sunday at 10:15 p.m.