AIS leads to new launch point for fireworks

by Brady Lass

Families that make the annual tradition to see the fireworks over Lake Waconia may have to put their lawn chairs in a different location this year. Some lakes in Minnesota, including Lake Minnetonka, are dealing with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), such as zebra mussels, and the situation is affecting the fireworks show in Waconia this year.

Kellie Sites, the president of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce, explained.

“Due to the strict enforcement by the DNR to prevent the spread of zebra mussels, we are unable to get the barge we usually use from Lake Minnetonka to use to transport the bobcat and fireworks to Coney Island, (so) we will be shooting the show from the east edge of Lake Waconia Regional Park,” said Sites, who said organizers are working to obtain another barge that can handle the weight of the equipment used in the show.

“Since the zebra mussels and invasive species problem isn’t going away, the Lake Waconia Fireworks Festival that is overseen by the Waconia Chamber is working on having our own barge on the lake that could handle a Bobcat,” she said. “The barge needs to be 32 feet long and 10 feet wide with a 15 horsepower outboard motor. The barge needs to handle the Bobcat as well as all the equipment that is required for a show of this magnitude.”

Sites reminded people to keep the situation in mind when planning on where to view the fireworks this year.

“The best viewing continues to be from Lake Waconia Regional Park, Laketown Parkway, Lola’s Lakehouse and the lake! If you plan to put your boat in the water from the In Towne Marina or a public launch, please come early and allow adequate time for launching,” she said.

Sites also expressed her gratitude towards the volunteers of this event for all their hard work.

“This group of volunteers have been doing this show for 35 years,” Sites said. “Waconia is lucky they have this wonderful group of people to make this great show over the lake.”


Fireworks Raffle

Citizens can show their support of the fireworks show by participating in a raffle fundraiser.

Don’t miss your chance to win dinner for 10 at Lola’s Lakehouse on the 4th of July, a one night stay at the AmericInn or a party for 10 at Laketown Gymnastics. Each ticket is $10 and the drawing will be held at 5 p.m. at Lola’s Lakehouse on Thursday, June 26. Tickets are available at Lola’s Lakehouse, the AmericInn of Waconia, Laketown Gymnastics, the In Towne Marina, MidCountry Bank, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods and the Waconia Chamber of Commerce.  Make Checks payable to Lake Waconia Fireworks Festival.

Organizers thank you for your support!