The 11th annual Nisswa Firecracker Run took place Saturday, July 4, as an all-day event because of COVID-19 guidelines.

Instead of a mass start at 8 a.m. for the 5K and 10K races, participants took off in waves of no more than 25 people every 15 minutes throughout the day. The run was capped at 1,000 participants, and more participated virtually by running on their own time. The event wasn't officially timed this year, and the course wasn't official or monitored.

But tradition was part of the event, organized by The Recess Factory with Bridges of Hope Minnesota as a beneficiary. A firecracker signaled the start for runners and walkers to take off, though the starting line moved from Main Street to just off the Paul Bunyan Trail behind Triangle gas station and Dairy Queen.

Alice and Jennie Stoppel raise their arms in triumph as they cross the Nisswa Firecracker Run finish line. The family is from Eden Prairie and has a cabin in Merrifield. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
Alice and Jennie Stoppel raise their arms in triumph as they cross the Nisswa Firecracker Run finish line. The family is from Eden Prairie and has a cabin in Merrifield. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

At the normal finish line at the Nisswa Community Center, participants were able to pick up a to-go crawfish boil meal and then get a free Pabst at the Pickle Factory. There was no Slip-n-Slide or bubble machine at the finish line, and people sat in the shade in small groups on the Nisswa Community Center grounds, which in normal years is jam-packed with people.

Registration for the July 4, 2021, run is open at runnisswa.com.