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Upper Michigan businessman organizes own Independence Day celebration

This event in Lake Linden grabbed a lot of attention due to its host, Erik Kiilunen, and his well-publicized "All Business is Essential" campaign.
People gather on July 3 in Lake Linden (WLUC Image)
People gather on July 3 in Lake Linden (WLUC Image)(WLUC)
Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 12:53 PM EDT
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LAKE LINDEN, Mich. (WLUC) - A traditional Fourth of July celebration was held in Lake Linden Friday evening, contrary to social distancing guidelines.

This celebration has grabbed a lot of attention due to its host, Erik Kiilunen, and his well-publicized "All Business is Essential" campaign.

“With everything that’s been going on for the past three months I really got frustrated, you know?” Kiilunen said. “Telling us to stay home and mask up and not celebrate our country while we’re destroying it in cities. All the fireworks in our area were cancelled, so I took it upon myself to put a fireworks show on.”

While Kiilunen may be frustrated with the coronavirus guidelines, he says he’s not ignorant of the potential danger. He posted a sign for those coming to the event, warning them to stay at home if they have any symptoms. This is the same sign he posted outside his business when he opened.

“I opened my business in defiance of the governor’s orders about three months ago, and I put those signs up on my building,” he said. “You know, basically, if you want to come in and participate with my business, work with me, you’re welcome in. Here’s the warnings: could be COVID, could be flu, could be the common cold. it’s just a basic, common sense warning.”

The celebration included a live band, a children’s bike race and fireworks in the evening. Kiilunen says it’s all to celebrate as Americans should.

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