WINNING A GOLDFISH at the carnival with all his friends looking on was Wyatt Yager. Ashley Shaver is in charge of the booth. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

Lots of hands help at Spud Fest

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
The 42nd annual Big Lake Spud Fest is over for another year. The tents are taken down. The carnival has moved on until next year. 
The Big Lake Spud Fest committee can heave a sigh of relief and head home for a well-earned nap after months of organizing, planning and worrying about the weather or some other last minute hitch.
The Spud Fest Committee starts meeting in January and meets weekly until the event is over for the year. Spud Fest is sponsored by Lake Center Liquors and Viking Coca-cola.
The weather forecasters called for more rain, at the end of the second wettest June in historic record. In spite of the dire predictions, the rain held off for the most part and had no real impact on outdoor activities, which all went off as scheduled.
A light rain fell Thursday evening but didn’t start until after the Spud Fest Teen Talent contest, which was won by Jaidyn Anthoney and Aerica Joos, who sang a duet. As the winners, the girls opened for the band Porkchop Friday night.
Friday’s fireworks were sponsored by the Big Lake Legion and the Legion Auxiliary.
Porkchop rocked the stage with the blues. Saturday afternoon Short On Cash took the main stage and that night it was Outside Recess. The bands were sponsored by The Knights of Columbus and Dahlheimer Beverage.
Saturday was hot and sticky with some rain showers in the afternoon and heavier rain in the evening. 
Getting wet did nothing to deter the Big Lake Fire fighters who challenged neighboring departments to a water ball fight. The big winners were the  Elk River Fire Dept.
Other entertainment was provided by Dance Caravan, a tribal belly dance performing arts company, and Karl Achilles Magic Show.
Food is a big part of Spud Fest from the Knights of Columbus sponsored pork chop dinner to the Sunday morning potato pancake breakfast.
For the first time this year, Big Lake Dairy Queen sponsored an ice cream cake eating contest and had a float in the parade.
The Big Lake PTO sponsored the kids Power pedal Pull Sunday afternoon. Winners in each age group go on to the next round of competition at the Wright County Fair in Howard Lake.
Softball tournament sponsors are Crop Production Services,    McPete's Sports Bar and Lanes,    MVP Painting,    Russell's On The Lake,    Safe Discount Liquor and    Tootsie's Tavern.
Bingo prizes were donated by American Family Insurance, Kelli Riebel, Audio Communications, Big Lake Anytime Fitness, Big Lake Floral & Gift, Big Lake Great Clips, Big Lake Hardware Hank, Big Lake Pizza Pub, Big Lake Subway, Bob's Towing & Recovery, Bolton & Menk, Inc., Caribou Coffee,  Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Casey's General Stores, CentraCare Health, Monticello, China Inn Buffet, City of Big Lake, Custom Cut and Color, Do It Best Lumber, Fresh Flame Burger, Ideal Advertising, JC's U-Lock Storage, Klein Bank, Lake Café, Lake Center Liquor, Mobil ENL, Riverwood Bank and Big Lake Trails Grill and Sports Bar.


NEW BIG LAKE BOUTIQUE OWNERS are Beth Koch, Shanna Romsdahl and Aadra Mielke.

FROM HOLLYHOCK FARM near Becker, Teresa Kukowski and her alpaca Francine have beautiful eyes and make beautiful garments from alpaca wool.

(L to R) Michelle Garcia and Steve Karel, two of the newest faces at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, are looking forward to the opening of the Oak Savanna Learning Center in October. (Photo by Aleah Stenberg)

VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE Big Lake’s Knowledge Bowl Team made their very first trip to state last week and came home with sixth place medals. Team members are (from the left), Jake Dickinson, Jack Flicker, Peter Wallace, Tim Poffenberger and Jacob Block. The team is coached by Teacher Angela McCormack. (Submitted photo).