July 4th in Land O Lakes

The Holiday Experience Up North

The Holiday Experience Up North

The City of Minocqua apparently quadruples in size during the peak of summer tourism, and when I’m driving through town in the summer, it’s pretty obvious.  There’s enough boats on Minocqua Lake that sometimes I think the entire population is out there. Road traffic picks up as well, and it takes a bit longer to get on and off the island.  And for some people, I would bet that’s part of the appeal of the Northwoods.  Being able to have your close friends and family at the lakehouse, while still having plenty of activities, shops and restaurants in town.

In Land O’ Lakes, you don’t get that same hustle and bustle. There’s a grocery store, pharmacy, post office, bowling alley, VFW, park, library, and some restaurants as well.  But you don’t get stuck in traffic unless you’re behind a UTV, and you only end up waiting in a long line if you go to Charlie’s Market right before it closes each night at 6pm.  It’s a quieter Northwoods experience.  The exception to this rule is the 4th of July.  

I had the opportunity to spend some time in Land O’ Lakes celebrating the 4th this summer.  And I have to say, the town really turns out.  The city touts the fireworks as the best in the Northwoods, and after witnessing it firsthand I’m not going to argue with them.  Not only were the fireworks themselves impressive, but there was music and food for at least three hours before the fireworks even started.  There’s something about a band playing on a stage in an airport hangar that seemed authentic to the holiday and the area.  

On the 4th itself the whole city turns out for the parade.  Similar to fireworks, you’d be mistaken if you thought the town would be quiet until the parade.  For hours leading up to the parade the streets were lined with flags, people sitting in their camp chairs, and kids playing at the park and on the sidewalks.  I don’t think the total attendance was 4-times the city’s population, like it may have been in Minocqua.  But it was a celebration that brought everyone together.  And everyone seemed to be enjoying it.
Individual lakes often have their own way of celebrating the 4th.  On Black Oak Lake, I participated in a boat parade that was probably the highlight of the week.  Sure, the skies opened up and poured rain on us for 15 minutes right in the middle of it.  It didn’t matter.  We cruised around the lake listening to patriotic songs.  We waived at strangers, new friends and old friends alike.  And they cheered for us, even though we didn’t throw them any candy.  It was great.

Some of our favorite lakes are up in the Land O’ Lakes area -  Black Oak, Big Portage, Forest, Stormy, Lac du Lune, and the High/Fishtrap chain.  But this story isn’t unique to “Lando”.  A different version of this same story is being told by folks all across the country who came up to their favorite cabin on their favorite lake in the Northwoods.  Hopefully someone’s writing it down so we don’t forget about it.  It’s a lot of fun.


Posted By: Phil Souzek - July 24, 2023, 3:23 p.m.