It was a strange feeling - recently ordering a drink among a bubbling spring of familiar faces… revealing slightly aged smiles that have been hiding over the last year below skeptical, satin eyes. Slowly reintegrating to a post pandemic life (while imagining a summer without isolation) as I sipped on a cold cocktail throughout the evening.

I have partial memories of outdoor events prior to my first outdoor music festival, however they don’t compare. The first music festival I paid to see was the Lilith Fair - an extraordinary composition of female artist of the time… new artists mixed with legends, coming together to celebrate each other and their music.

One of the first indoor shows I can recall experiencing - and it was an experience - was Charlie Parr at the Sugar Room (now the home of the tasty Tandem Bagels, in Downtown Mankato). I probably wasn’t old enough to be in the barrel-vault ceilinged dive bar, which may attribute to the fondness of the memories, which also included happily dancing shoulder to shoulder in circles to the barefoot, steel guitar slaying Minnesota legend just steps away.

One part celebration, one part atmosphere, one part normalcy; shaken, not stirred - we have the main ingredients for new Minnesota memories this Independence Day. Celebrate water, summer, America and music. Stock the cooler with cold beer or fixin’s for crisp summer cocktails; pack the car with lawn chairs, blankets, beach towels, frisbee, volleyball and sunscreen; bring the kids and meet your friends and family for the annual Lakefest at Clear Lake Park and Beach in Waseca.

We will be honoring the Thai tradition of Loy Krathong, or ‘the festival of light’. Supplies will be provided to make lotus-inspired floats fashioned from banana leaves, flower blossoms, and candles; this traction celebrates water, good luck, and new beginnings. We will launch them prior to the fireworks celebration with hope of providing a new Lakefest tradition.

The music lineup for Sunday, July 4 at Clear Lake Park in Waseca includes local favorites Joe Nino at 3 p.m.; Miller Denn at 4 p.m.; and Los Tequileros at 5:30 p.m. The Resonant Rouge from Asheville, North Carolina perform at 7 p.m., and our headliner Charlie Parr with Liz Draper, beginning at 8 p.m.

Krathong launch at 9:30 p.m. and fireworks over the lake start at 10 p.m. with perfect views from Clear Lake Park Beach. Rain or shine — coolers and alcohol permitted — no glass, please. We ask you respectfully keep our park clean during the event.

The Waseca History Center Waseca Art Center are collaborating to provide this event which is made possible by a generous grant from the Waseca Area Foundation - it was supported with funds from the Vollbrecht Arts Fund & WAF Community Funds.

This event wouldn’t be possible without philanthropy. Consider setting up charitable bequest in your will or revocable trust for community nonprofit organizations. You can choose to give our nonprofit a specific dollar amount, specific property, or a percentage of what remains after you’ve provided for your loved ones; you may direct your gift as you wish.

If you are a food, art or other local vendor interested in participating in Lakefest, please contact director@WasecaArtsCouncil.org or director@historical.waseca.mn.us for information — there is no fee but space is limited.

Andrew Breck is the art director for the Waseca Art Center.

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