For 122 years, Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis was home to Fourth of July Fireworks and a day-long community celebration. This annual summer tradition attracted more than 20,000 people for a day of family fun, live music and a unique fireworks display over Powderhorn Lake.
As long as I’ve lived in Powderhorn, the annual fireworks has been a rowdy event. Many people brought their own do-it-yourself fireworks to shoot off in the immense sports field adjacent to the lake. Some would even fire off rockets in crowded areas of the hill slopes where families were sitting on blankets waiting for the show to begin.
In 2013, the officially-run July 4th fireworks show ended prematurely after a few people trampled down the temporary fencing to get into the area where the fireworks were being launched. Subsequently, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board announced that the park police they could no longer provide security at both the Powderhorn event and the Downtown Minneapolis fireworks at the riverfront. The downtown fireworks have continued; the Powderhorn fireworks have not.
At least, not officially. On the Fourth of July, the wild west atmosphere at Powderhorn still prevails.
Around 10:30 last night I ventured into the park with my camera. Lacking a tripod, and with all manner of fireworks going off everywhere, unpredictably, I captured what I could of the action. With a hand-held camera and exposure times sometimes lasting as long as 10 seconds, the results include drastically overexposed and drastically underexposed areas, long jiggly trails of bursting fireworks, and the ghostly images of people who were moving about. Many of the photographs take on the semblance of abstract art. Still, I like a lot of the results. My favorites are below.