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Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff A big crowd enjoyed picture-perfect weather, tasty ribs, blues music and other outdoor fun during the Awake the Lakes celebration on 2nd Avenue in Alexandria.

A taste of summer fun

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News Alexandria,Minnesota 56308 http://www.echopress.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/8/0824/nawakeoverview1399.jpg?itok=3QKJhfy5
Echo Press
A taste of summer fun
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

If the Awake the Lakes celebration is a hint of things to come, get ready for a summer of fun.

The weekend of events was deemed a big success by organizers.

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The weather for Friday night's Rib Fest and street dance was exceptional.

With temperatures in the 80s, along with ribs sizzling on the grill and music filling the air, a huge crowd enjoyed the evening's festivities, according to Coni McKay, executive director of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

McKay noted there were 13 rib-cooking team this year vying for top honors in both the professional and the amateur division of the rib contest.

Rose City BBQ took home the trophy once again in the professional division. There was a new winner, however, in the amateur division - Design Tree Engineering won top honors.

All voting was done by people's choice, said McKay.

Although it was hard to estimate just how big the crowd was, McKay said it was an "exceptionally big crowd."

"Attendees now realize if you don't get there early, you won't get ribs," she said. "The first rib-cooking teams sold out in just 40 minutes!"

McKay also noted that the music provided by Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, along with the local band Whiplash, plus fireworks at dusk, was the "perfect start to summer in the lakes area."

Besides the ribs, there were five independent food vendors on site Friday evening and during the day on Saturday for the Show-N-Shine car show and Habitat for Humanity motorcycle, bicycle and vintage car ride. McKay noted they all had "strong sales" during that time, which meant there were plenty of people out and about.

She also mentioned that without the support of the major sponsors, including Elden's Food Fair, H. Boyd Nelson, KSAX, KXRA, KIKV, the Echo Press and Ellingson's, an event like Awake the Lakes couldn't have happened.

"When you combine solid partnerships along with great partnerships like the Runestone Museum, Habitat for Humanity and Viking Speedway, summer magic happens," said McKay.

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