Lakefest Crowd

Lakefest is canceled this year and will only hold firework display for people to watch on the Fourth of July. At the 2019 Lakefest Fourth of July festival a crowd gathered to watch and listen to live music. (County News file photo)

The Waseca Fourth of July Lakefest celebration is canceled due to lack of volunteers.

Fireworks are the only part of Lakefest that will happen this year. The fireworks will be held on Saturday, July 4 being launched over Clear Lake around 9:45 p.m.

“COVID-19 would only have been a part of the cancellation if there was an event to cancel but the lack of volunteers and planning, there wasn’t anyone to plan it this year,” Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ann Fitch said. “The Waseca Area Chamber and Discover Waseca Tourism made calls for volunteers throughout the winter and last year.”

She said that there were some inquiries about planning it but there was no one willing to take on the work.

Those who plan Lakefest have to book the music, sound, food trucks, rent the park, apply for the grant from the Waseca Area Foundation and other tasks to pull the event together.

“I personally did it last year because I didn’t want to see it be canceled and this year I was going out of town for the Fourth of July,” Fitch said.

Fitch said that there are some volunteers who have planned it in the past but are burnt out. It’s time for others to step up because this is a result of not getting new volunteers. A lack of volunteers is not unique to Lakefest.

In Waseca, traditionally Lakefest is the town celebration for the holiday. Lakefest is normally filled with live music in Clear Lake Park throughout the day along with food vendors, yard game rentals, beach house rentals, a volleyball tournament and other events. All of these festivities ended with the fireworks over the lake.

“I think that with the current rules we could have had Lakefest,” Fitch said. “There’s plenty of room to social distance out at Clear Lake Park and it’s a mellow day and I think we could have had it even with COVID-19.”

This year the family friendly day will be cut down to just the fireworks display.

“The fireworks are a joint effort between Discover Waseca Tourism and Sinister Forrest,” Fitch said. “Sinister donates a good chunk of money to Discover every year to pay for the fireworks.”

Instead of asking businesses to donate to the fund for the fireworks after being closed or only partially open due to COVID-19 some Discover Waseca Tourism reserve funds were used to help with the cost of fireworks.

People are welcome to be in their boats during the fireworks, sit in the grass, on shore or park for a good seat to watch when it gets dark. It is asked that attendees follow the social distancing guidelines while watching fireworks.

“I think there’s plenty of people who are going to miss Lakefest,” Fitch said. “Having music for basically 10 hours is really fun and you get to hear lots of artists from the area and a lot of people would come at noon and stay until the fireworks. It was fun to see people utilize the parks and I’m sure people will still use the grills and hang out, but it won’t be the same atmosphere and it’s more lost income for those performers.”

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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