Column: Never a shortage of summertime things to do

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2002

It’s ironic that one of Albert Lea’s most famous former residents, Eddie Cochran, is best remembered &045; in America, anyway &045; for a song that lamented the lack of a cure for the &uot;Summertime Blues.&uot; That’s because around here, summer is probably the time of year you’re least likely to end up down in the dumps &045; there’s just too much going on.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday has been the first huge weekend of summer. If you’re into classic cars or classic music (or rummage sales) the Eddie Cochran festivities have probably been your bag. If marching bands are more your style &045; or if you’ve got a kid or grandkid who’s in one of the many area marching bands &045; you’ll probably find yourself along the parade route for the third-annual Festival of Bands today at 2 p.m. And, of course, if you are into canned, light-pink semi-meat, the fanfare surrounding Austin’s pride and joy, the SPAM Museum, could have been enough to entice you 20 miles east for part of this weekend.

Beyond those marquee events, there was also a lot going on in the city of Freeborn Saturday during that town’s annual to-do. The Pelican Breeze has gotten its season going with several cruises on beatiful Albert Lea lake every weekend. And if none of that is enough, there’s always the city pool and beach, golfing, and of course, lots of green space to be enjoyed in the city and county parks.

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The Tribune has for many years put out a publication that was known as FYI; this magazine-like special section started out as a way to refresh everybody’s memory on some facts about where we live &045; stuff like who the mayor is and who you can call for recycling information.

Over time, more and more of that section became devoted to previews of summer events in the area. Last year, it was almost entirely a summer-fun guide, and this year, we made the transition complete by changing the name to Summer Times. Now, the vast majority of the section is a tribute to all the things you can do when it’s warm in Freeborn County. The section came out in Friday’s paper.

We’ve covered all the festivals and events in Albert Lea and the surrounding communities, as well as profiled many attractions that will be entertaining visitors all summer, like the Pelican Breeze, the doll museum, the waterski club, the state park, and much more. We even profiled a few recreational opportunities farther out, in places like Mason City, Austin, Owatonna and other cities around the southern part of the state.

Every year, I’m impressed by the volume of things to do once summer hits. It doesn’t seem to me that most towns our size have quite so much going on. If there’s any doubt about that, one only needs to page through Summer Times for proof.

That section is designed to be a tool for visitors to the community as well as a handy reference for people who already live here. For those new to the area, the publication will be available at the Chamber of Commerce, some of the local hotels and at Trails Travel Center. For permanent residents, we hope the section can serve as a guide to what’s going on the rest of the summer.

In Minnesota, where we’ve only got so many months of warmth, it’s important to take advantage of summer while it’s here. I can honestly say that this area has enough going on to fill the whole season with reasons to get outside and enjoy it.

Dylan Belden is the Tribune’s managing editor. His column appears Sundays.