The Elk River City Council agreed with a recommendation at its Aug. 2  meeting to move Elk RiverFest to the last weekend in July, and the plan is to hold it at Orono Park.

Next year's Elk RiverFest will fall on Saturday, July 30. The fireworks show, however, will move to the Fourth of July and be shot off at Elk River High School.

Orono Park, located on the shores of Lake Orono, is temporarily closed as it undergoes a facelift to increase its presence in the community as a signature park. New elements will include pickle ball courts, a skateboard park, a splash pad, beach area accessibility improvements, park pavilion and modern restrooms and trail connections.

The council also discussed moving the craft fair portion of the event to a different time of year and holding it at the climate-controlled Furniture and Things Community Event Center.

The council also discussed what to do with the Sips on Main and live music portion of the event, but made no decisions. Possibilities include holding a concert and the beer and wine tasting event on the day of Elk RiverFest, using a smaller and less costly footprint that closes a limited number of street sections all the way to moving it do a different day and having a battle of the bands format rather than bringing in a single act.

There was some support for the latter, but also some apprehension with the idea of splitting the event and losing any momentum the city has built after its first three Elk RiverFests.

Council members, however, were unanimous in their desire to get the event off of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a time when many in the community traditionally go out of town to celebrate with family elsewhere.

The last weekend in July was suggested and approved because it does not compete with any nearby community festivals in places like Big Lake or Monticello.

The event at Lake Orono will have a focus on family fun activities, with the evening event in downtown Elk River will be focused on adult entertainment like music, a street dance and Sips on Main.

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