Summer's here! Here are Awake the Lakes eventsHello, summer! Memorial Day weekend is viewed as the unofficial start of the summer season and the Alexandria lakes is brimming with ways to celebrate it.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Memorial Day weekend is viewed as the unofficial start of the summer season and the Alexandria lakes is brimming with ways to celebrate it.
The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Awake the Lakes” festival offers a variety of activities – ribs, blues and other music, classic cars, yoga, bicycle stunts, zoo animals, pony rides, sidewalk sales, beer garden, stock car races, fireworks, Memorial Day parade and more.
Even if the weather doesn’t fully cooperate, the celebration is on. This year, a large tent will be set up on 2nd Avenue, instead of small individual tents, so Rib Fest patrons can stay dry in case it rains.
“We’ve really tried hard to weather-proof the event,” said Coni McKay, Chamber director.
Also new to this year – the Rib Fest will take place Saturday night, starting at 5:30 p.m., instead of Friday. The change accommodates out-of-town travelers who won’t be arriving into town until late Friday night, McKay said.
“We want to engage more of the tourist crowd and see if there is growth opportunity for Saturday events and on through Memorial Day weekend,” she said.
Awake the Lakes – like other events that draw visitors into town – packs a big economic punch.
“Every dollar an out-of-town visitor spends means so much,” McKay said. “It rolls over four times before it leaves the community.”
Another new twist to this year’s Awake the Lakes is a chance for children to learn about the blues and how to play a harmonica. The featured performer at the Rib Fest, Everett Smithson, a blues musician who has been playing the harmonica since 1970, will teach the course.
Miss Minnesota will also help the kids at the blues sessions. Coincidentally, her name is “Alexandria” Kvenvold. The training will take place inside Fort Alexandria.
Here’s a timeline of the events for the weekend (unless otherwise stated, all events take place on 2nd Avenue by Big Ole Central Park):
FRIDAY, MAY 25
6:30 to 9 a.m. – Unity Foundation “Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” at Broadway Ballroom.
SATURDAY, MAY 26
8 a.m. to noon – rev up your day with the Vintage Car Club’s “Show ‘n Shine” display. New this year: Corvette Club Show n’ Shine displays will be added.
8:30 to 10 a.m. – Runestone Museum hosts “Breakfast with Big Ole” in Fort Alexandria. The menu will include various egg bakes, fruit, juice, and egg coffee.
8:30 to 9:30 a.m. – wake up the lakes with YOGAjoy. Bring your own mat or a beach towel. A one-hour yoga session will be offered for free.
9 a.m. to noon – enjoy locally grown produce at the Farmers Market.
9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon – Rich Wieber’s “Extreme Bicycle Stunt Show.” Three free performances will be offered. The show includes bicycle stunts, a high-energy announcer and upbeat music. For information, visit the website www.bicyclestuntshows.com.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Erickson’s Petting Zoo and Pony Rides.
Noon to 5 p.m. – DJ music provided by Livewire Entertainment.
2 to 2:30 p.m.; and 3 to 3:30 p.m. – Everett Smithson will present two free “Blues for Kids” harmonica training sessions for youth ages 8 to 16. Each session will be limited to 15 students. All class materials are free and will include harmonicas, instruction literature, songs and diagrams. The class will address beginning harmonica issues, such as breathing, rhythm and being able to play one hole at a time. Register at the Alexandria Lakes area Chamber of Commerce at least 30 minutes before the session.
All weekend – Downtown Merchants Association’s sidewalk sales.
Noon to 4:30 p.m. – Habitat for Humanity Motorcycle Ride (begins at Apol’s Harley Davidson). See today’s Variety section for details.
4 to 10 p.m. – beer garden.
5:30 p.m. – Five WISSOTA Classes NLRA Late Model Special at the Viking Speedway.
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Rib Fest, a competition for amateur and professional cooking teams.
5:30 to 9 p.m. – Everett Smithson Band, featuring live blues music.
At dusk – fireworks over Lakes Agnes and Henry by Zambelli Fireworks Company.
Live music at Carlos Creek Winery and Sixth Avenue Wine and Ale.
SUNDAY, MAY 27
8:30 to 9:45 a.m. – Packet/T-shirt pick-up for the Awake the Grapes 5/10k Fun Run at Carlos Creek Winery. First race begins at 10 a.m.
Connie Lee Stich live performance at Tennessee Roadhouse. Time to be determined.
MONDAY, MAY 28
8 a.m. to noon – First Congregational Church Pancake Feed.
10 a.m. – Memorial Day Parade on Broadway to Kinkead Cemetery.
11 a.m. – Memorial Day Service at Kinkead Cemetery.