Itasca State Park Celebrates 125th Year With Picnic Festival Sunday
Itasca State Park and Minnesota State Parks and Trails will turn 125 this weekend and a celebration is in order.
DNR is hosting a Picnic in the Park Festival this Sunday, July 31. There will be a summer picnic, old-time lawn games, music and more. The public can bring their own lunch, or purchase a grilled lunch provided by Douglas Lodge, at the Itasca picnic grounds. A birthday cake will be shared, and the famous “Itasca sugar cookies” will also be available for purchase on this day only.
“We’re making a picnic into a festival to celebrate Itasca State Park’s historic birthday,” said Connie Cox, park naturalist. “People from around the world have enjoyed 125 years of visiting this iconic park and other Minnesota state parks. It’s an excellent way to spend the day.”
- Games and music (ongoing 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
- Retro Picnic Contest. Set-up a picnic scene between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Participants will be judged for a chance to win prizes in one of the classes: best retro picnic, best use of a picnic table, best use of plaid or most creative picnic meal.
- Egg-on-a-spoon. Grab a big spoon and try not to break an egg before racing across the finish line.
- Three-legged race. It takes practice to make two legs work as one. Grab a friend and try making it across the finish line without getting all tied up.
- Giant bubbles. How big can a bubble get? Make a hand-held bubble loop, dip it in the special bubble juice and the breeze will do the rest.
- Potato sack race. Put both feet in a burlap sack and be the first to cross the finish line.
- Ice cream in a bag. Learn the easy way to make homemade ice cream in a plastic bag. Perfect for topping a piece of birthday cake (while supplies last).
- Unpolished (11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.) “Unpolished” performs an eclectic mix of roots, Americana and bluegrass music on bass, guitar, mandolin and banjo complete with rich three-part harmonies. The group covers many styles of folk music including music from the 1800s – Civil War, old cowboy music, railroad songs and bluegrass music.
- Tim Eggebraaten (12:15 – 1 p.m.) Tim, the “one man band,” performs tunes, from popular to classic, with his special twist on the lyrics.
- Park Rapids Community Band (1 – 2 p.m.) Bring a blanket or lawn chair to listen to a medley of classic and inspiring music during the picnic finale.
A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit can purchase one online (www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/permit.html) or at the park office.
South entrance to the park is 23 miles north of Park Rapids on U.S. Highway 71. From Bemidji, the east entrance is 30 miles south on U.S. Highway 71 and 1/10 mile north on state Highway 200. The north entrance is 21 miles south of Bagley on state Highway 92/state Highway 200.
For more information, call 218-699-7251, or visit www.mndnr.gov/itasca.