Parades, fireworks and BBQ mark Fourth of July in Minn. - KMSP-TV

Parades, fireworks and BBQ mark Fourth of July in Minn.

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It's believed to be the oldest and largest Fourth of July parade in the state, and the festivities in Delano do not disappoint.

The streets started to fill with parade lovers marking the holiday as long ago as July 4, 1857. Donna Anderson has been coming since 1968, but this is the first year she hasn't helped create a float for her church.

"I'm sitting here like, 'Ah! I need to be out there!'" said Anderson.

A few bald eagles even flew over the crowd, which was estimated to include about 35,000 people.

"It is nice to see everybody honoring the veterans and honoring our independence. I think it's very important," said Susan Ertl.

Ertl told FOX 9 News she has been coming to the Delano parade her entire life and her father is a veteran.

As the parade got underway, preparations were being made for the fireworks show in St. Paul. Scheduled for 10:15 p.m. John Ratzlaff, with RES Specialty Pyrotechnics, says they have new fireworks and new colors which are sure to please the crowd this year.

"We were in an international competition and brought home the trophy for the United States," he explained. "We are using some of the same products here in St. Paul."

For others, a smaller celebration is just as sweet. The Ramirez family gathered for a BBQ and picnic at Minnehaha Falls.

"This is the start of a new tradition," Steven Ramirez explained. "We invited our grandma from California and mom from Oklahoma. They came to visit Minnesota for the first time. They are having a good time so far. "

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