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Mosinee keeps full schedule of events on for 4th of July

Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 4:18 PM CDT
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MOSINEE, Wis. (WSAW) -

With the exception of Mercer in Iron County, Mosinee is about the only city in north-central Wisconsin that kept a full schedule of events celebrating Independence Day on the calendar. The festival is put on by the Mosinee Chamber of Commerce.

“Each year they do a number of events down here at River Park culminating in the fireworks at the end of the day and this year, obviously is a little bit different,” Mosinee’s mayor, Brent Jacobson said.

The city council approved the permits and Jacobson said it was up to the chamber whether it wanted to proceed.

“We always were planning on holding the event,” Terra Plaisance, the chamber’s executive director stated. After canceling events in May and June, she said she believed the 4th of July celebration had to go on.

“Literally, it was on a weekly basis that we would talk with the health department and just make sure that everything we had going on was going to be okay and what rules and regulations we’d have to follow,” she explained.

A lot of the activities and vendors were the same, but some of the protocols were a bit different this year. They put up sanitizing stations around River Park with signs asking people to utilize them, there were signs and announcements asking people to social distance at least six feet apart, kids’ activities were sanitized between uses, and food vendors were required to wear masks and gloves.

“We’re doing as much as we can to keep it safe, so we’re just hoping that everyone respects and are responsible for their own selves,” she said.

Some vendors they typically have dropped out, but on the other hand, she said there were some vendors who called her asking if they could still sign up for the event.

Chumpot Ratanawong, the owner of Hanuman Express food truck said he would have opened for the season in April, but wasn’t able to do so until June because of concerns about the pandemic. He said the typical events he signs up for are largely not happening, though he has gotten creative by partnering with breweries in the area. He said he was happy, however, to have the festival to go to.

“We really appreciate all of the support that has come from the community because they’ve been missing us, they’ve been missing a lot of the food vendors,” he said. “So, for us to actually be out and give them a little taste of summer is really nice.”

Ray Olson gathered much of his family of eight children and 29 grandchildren from all over the U.S. to run in the Firecracker 5-K, adding it was nice to run with everyone together.

“The family is celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, so we thought we’d add a race to it,” he said.

The race also provided My Team Triumph its first opportunity of the year to run in person. The organization helps people with disabilities who otherwise would not be able to run (called captains), have the experience of running a race.

“There are kids and adults alike that couldn’t wait for this first race,” Dawn Kerske, an MTT angel said.

Jason Fritsche, the north central Wisconsin MTT co-regional director said about half of their normal captains did not run in the race because they or their families were uncomfortable with the pandemic’s threat. Fritsche said safety is their number one priority and they created new protocols and plans to make sure it would be safe for captains and angels (the people who run with the captains). That includes sanitizing all of the carts and ensuring social distancing between teams.

For those that got the opportunity to run, however, he said they were more than excited.

“Just to have some sense of normalcy for one day,” he said. “To be able to be in something like a race, a year ago wasn’t as major as it was today.”

“I believe they’re doing it responsibly...taking a few different measures than you would in the past,” Jacobson said. “So, for people who are comfortable and feel like coming out, we certainly encourage them to do so. For those who aren’t, we certainly respect that too and wish them a happy 4th of July.”

Plaisance said she did have some residents call concerned that the festival would attract people from outside the area coming into the community and possibly spreading COVID-19. She said the health department had the same concern, however, she said with the additional safety measures along with it happening at a large, outdoor park, she said people have the opportunity to practice all of the safety protocols recommended.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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