Weather Forecast


A taste of summer fun

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.1 / 6
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Ella Johnston (left) "supervised" the rib preparation techniques of Design Tree Engineering, the winners in the amateur division of the Rib Fest.2 / 6
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Andrew Ziesmer sported a throwback hairdo to match his grandfather's car, a 1950 custom Ford, at the Show 'N' Shine Car Show, which was part of Awake the Lakes.3 / 6
Echo Press photo by Eric Morken The Habitat for Humanity Motorcycle Ride drew more than 100 riders and raised more than $10,000 for the program, which provides housing for low-income families. Area businesses donated more than 100 items for a silent auction. A list of the donors and sponsors can be found at / 6
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff The bluesy saxophone sounds of Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys (above, right) entertained the Rib Fest crowd.5 / 6
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Rose City BBQ's Kenny and Tanya Ruckheim (right) once again took home the trophy in the professional division of the Rib Fest.6 / 6

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.

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.