Spirit of the Lakes begins this weekend

By Blaze Fugina Community Editor

The Spirit of the Lakes Festival will begin Friday in the first of two weekends of the Westonka summer celebration.

The two-week event has some new events compared to other years due to the celebration of the Mound Centennial at the same time. Christie Larson, the festival coordinator for the Spirit of the Lakes, said that one new item of note will be the medallion hunt at this year’s festival.

"Mayor Hanus came up with the idea, and wrote all of the clues himself," she said.

The hunt for the medallion begins on the morning of Saturday, July 14, when the first clue will be posted online. Clues will be at both the city’s website (www.cityofmound.com) and Spirit of the Lakes website (www.spiritofthelakes.com). Clues will be posted every day, and the winner will receive $500 in a ceremony on stage at Surfside Park and Beach on Saturday, July 21.

If the medallion is found, the winners are asked to call 952-334-6551.

"The idea is for families to get out of the house, have some fun, and to spend some time around Mound," said Mound City Administrator Kandis Hanson in a press release.

The Spirit of the Lakes Grand Parade has more entries than has been seen in years past, and should result in a longer parade.

"We definitely have a lot more floats than in past years," said Larson.

The parade is expected to start at 10 a.m., and the planned route is to begin on Commerce Boulevard near the Surfside Park, and conclude downtown near Auditors Road.

Another new event to the Spirit of the Lakes that Larson highlighted is the Minnesota Zoo Animal Program, scheduled for the afternoon of July 21.

"It will be on stage, and will provide animal education for kids," said Larson.

After the show, there will also be a tent in the Surfside Park for children to view the animals.

This weekend, two events have been cancelled so far for the festival. Larson said the Skateboard Competition scheduled for Saturday, July 14 and the TriTonka Kids Bike and Run scheduled for Sunday, July 15 have been cancelled due a lack of registrations. The TriTonka Adult triathlon is still being scheduled as planned.

Entertainment will run later this year, as Larson said live music, beer and food vendors will be open later this year at Surfside Park. There will be a live band on Thursday, July 19 until 11 p.m., live music until midnight on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22.

Another new item to note for Spirit of the Lakes participants is the free shuttle. A shuttle will be running on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 to bring people from area parking lots to the Surfside Park. Shuttles will run every 10 minutes and off-site parking will be located at the Mound Transit Center and Shirley Hills Primary School.

For more information on the centennial celebration, check out the special section located inside this edition of The Laker.

Spirit of the Lakes schedule changes: