Northwoods Adventure: Over 900 Participate In 6th Annual Loop The Lake Festival
The Loop the Lake Festival started six years ago to showcase Bemidji as a bicycle-friendly community. The festival has grown since 2016. This year, over 900 bicyclists participated in the family-friendly event.
“Give people just a chance to get out and ride and get some exercise,“ said Angie Gora, a Bike Bemidji Loop The Lake volunteer. “Get some fresh air, get out their bikes for the season, get them tuned up and then they are good to go for the rest of the summer. So it’s kind of a way to kick off summer and get outside.”
The 17-mile bike route started at the Sanford Center. Bicyclists started showing up at 7:30 a.m. The route took them all over Bemidji hitting all of the scenic landmarks.
“I’m just always amazed at how beautiful the route is because you are right along the lake for so much of it,” said Bemidji Bike Loop the Lake steering committee member Muriel Gilman. “About over half of it you are directly next to the lake.”
A volunteer with the steering committee says the festival is non-competitive and it’s a great family-friendly event.
“It’s an opportunity for folks to get on their bikes to experience what Bemidji has to offer in terms of food and nature,” Gora said.
For some of the participants at the festival, it was their first time biking the scenic route around Lake Bemidji.
“It’s a really pretty ride, we like to we love going around the lakes,” Loop the Lake participant Amy Vanderleest said.
“To see everyone from the community out and it’s a beautiful day, so I want to be outside and just enjoy outside and the community,” Kirsten Sharpe, a Loop the Lake participant said.
“It’s so much fun, they do a wonderful job of blocking off all the traffic very safe for the whole family, awesome treats, awesome support – it’s been great,” Loop the Lake participant Jonetta Bakke said.
One Loop the Lake participant has been attending the Loop the Lake festival with his family since it began six years ago. He says he keeps coming back because it’s a great event.
“It’s just a fun time to get together with a lot of our friends and family members and spend the day getting a little exercise and having a lot of fun,” Loop the Lake participant Phil Hodapp said.
This year, there was no same-day registration. The policy was put in place to make it easier for organizers to plan for this year’s festival. Gilman said that they will continue the no-same-day-registration policy next year.