Summer Festival appears to be a ‘go’

The consensus of those gathered Tuesday evening to discuss a possible summer festival for Little Falls was, “Yes, the City should indeed have one.”

“I was saddened when Flavor of Morrison County and Riverfest left,” said Susan Haugen, manager of Linden Hill. Sandy Smith added, “Little Falls should have a celebration—not just the Arts and Crafts Fair which brings in visitors, but something for the community.” Agreeing, Kim Hansen, sales manager at the Record, said, “Yes, I’m asked at least once a month about when Little Falls is going to have a festival. We should make a name for ourselves.”

Whether or not the festival would be called The Dam Festival is yet to be determined. However, as Cathy VanRisseghem of the Convention and Visitors Bureau emphasized, the celebration should include the river and the parks—“on both sides of the river.” Gabrielle Meyer, the volunteer coordinator of the group, added, “And, we’d want to incorporate our heritage.”

Activities suggested for the festival included fireworks, a parade, a fish fry, a logging and/or a water skiing show, selling tee shirts and/or buttons, a fine arts show, a farmers market, a triathlon which uses the river and a wine tasting exhibit. “There’s no end to the possibilities,” exclaimed VanRisseghem.

While the Fourth of July weekend was suggested as a date for the festival, the opinion of the majority was that many people leave town that weekend. A more acceptable date for the event was the third or fourth weekend in June. VanRisseghem volunteered to check if any other nearby towns had festivals scheduled for those weekends.

Leeanne Doucette, manager of the Minnesota Fishing Museum, asked that the river be highlighted. “But,” she warned, “there could be a mess next year what with the cleanup of Hennepin Paper.”

VanRisseghem next added that attempts would have to be made to get service clubs to participate. “We’ve done a lot of events,” she continued. “They’re hard work. But, they’re worth it. They bring the community together. They make you proud. I envied Pierz when they held their Community Pride Picnic. It’s important that we come up with something. A parade is the hardest thing to organize. And, fireworks are expensive. What we’ve had in the past cost $10,000.”

As the meeting neared an end, the question, “Should we shoot for this?” was asked. The 18 or so in attendance all gave a positive nod.

The next meeting to plan the summer festival was set for Tuesday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. at City Hall. “And bring some others, too,” encouraged VanRisseghem. “Service club members and members of the Chamber. And don’t forget a list of possible activities.”

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