Like a junior high student, Lake Fest is quickly growing

Third-annual festival bigger and better for 2013


Dr. Linda Madsen
Guest Columnist

Back when I was a junior high school teacher, it was always fun to see how much a student could grow in three years. From the time they started seventh grade until they left for the high school at the end of ninth grade, it was amazing to see their growth – physically, intellectually and in terms of maturity.

In the same way, the Lake Fest we initially planned back in 2011 has grown to the point that it’s hardly recognizable today. This event has matured and become so much bigger and, hopefully, better.

In 2011, several of us at the school district planned a little festival for a summer day at Lakeside Park to commemorate our 100th graduating class. Before long, conversations with city leaders and the local Chamber of Commerce led to the creation of a bigger, one-day event. The next year, it grew into a multi-day event, and today we have a nearly week-long celebration of the history and culture of the city of Forest Lake and our surrounding communities.

FR_LakeFestLogoOur Saturday event is still the cornerstone of the week, and we have been extremely fortunate to have excellent weather for the past two years (knock on wood for this year). Again this year there will be music, food, fun, games for kids, class reunions and many, many other events. The schedule is available at

The week begins on Friday evening, May 31, with Minnesota’s own Rockin’ Hollywoods from 6-10 p.m., followed by the Movie in the Park event. This year’s movie will be “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Saturday is, of course, the big event at Lakeside Park, starting off at 8 a.m. with both the annual Calorie Burner 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the Johnson & Turner law firm, and the newly added fishing tournament. The rest of the day is filled with arts in the park, music, Tae Kwon Do presentations, Zumbatronics, yoga, performances by the high school’s jazz band, and so many other events. That evening local musician Charlie O will perform and a joint class reunion of all high school graduating classes from the 1970s – called “That ’70s Reunion” – will be held at Lakeside Park from 6-10 p.m.

Also, throughout the day, the Forest Lake Historical Society is sponsoring an exhibit that will display photos, yearbooks, clothing and other artifacts that recall past days in the history of our schools and school district. This is a great opportunity for both children and adults to learn about, or remember, some of the great moments from the past that have brought us to where we are today.

The rest of the week is filled with many graduation-related events.

Our highly-popular District Hall of Fame and the newly named Arts & Athletics Hall of Fame will induct a combined 15 new members this year, and those great additions will be inducted on Monday, June 3 in conjunction with the annual High School Academic Awards Ceremony. Then on June 4, a reception will be held for both halls of fame at Forest Hills Golf Club from 6-8 p.m. The public is invited to join us in this terrific event, which is sponsored by The Education Foundation of the Forest Lake Area (TEFFLA). There is no cost to attend.

On Wednesday, June 5, a musical performance called Dueling Pianos will be held at Vannelli’s from 7 – 9 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for both TEFFLA and the Community Scholarship Foundation, and Charlie O is once again the featured entertainment act.

The week is finished on June 6 with the 102nd graduation commencement for Forest Lake Area High School, which will be held at the high school at 7:30 p.m.

It’s really enjoyable to watch our kids grow, and also to watch this terrific event to grow right along with them. I am hopeful that everyone in our communities will have a chance to experience at least one of the many fantastic events that Lake Fest 2013 has to offer.

Dr. Linda Madsen is superintendent of schools in ISD 831.