What a way to get back to normal! Food, fun, music and fireworks. That’s what happened Saturday at the third annual Elk RiverFest in beautiful downtown.

After being in lockdown for more than a year because of COVID-19 it was great to see thousands of Elk River residents out enjoying a hot summer day with their neighbors. There was plenty to do for people of all ages.

I just enjoyed the chance to go around and visit with our citizens. Council members Wagner, Christianson and Beyer took their turn in the dunk tank. I don’t do well in water so I avoided that, although I spent plenty of money trying to dunk them with all the proceeds going to CAER.

After having to cancel Elk RiverFest last year, I was really looking forward to the city hosting the event again. Preparing for the day is a large undertaking involving several city departments. Karen Wingard from the Park and Recreation Department was in charge of coordinating everything and did a fabulous job. Every department was there to do whatever Karen needed.

As I said when I spoke at the concert Saturday, Elk RiverFest originated after I got an email from an Elk River High School student who wondered why we didn’t have our own festival. I took the idea to the council and Elk RiverFest was born.

The council has been very supportive of the event with most members participating. Every year there have been improvements made over previous years. Saturday’s was the best of the three Elk RiverFests to date and I think Karen already has ideas to make it even better in 2022.

It was a little hot Saturday but that didn’t affect the crowd. People seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. If you attended I hope you had a good time. The city will keep trying to make the event bigger and better. The sky is the limit. — Elk River Mayor John Dietz

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