Enjoying music in the park

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, July 6, 2017

Locals come out for weekly Thursday on Fountain series

The heat and humidity did not stop people from gathering Thursday at Fountain Lake Park for Thursdays on Fountain.

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This week’s Thursdays on Fountain — a concert series that brings live musical acts to Albert Lea — featured a performance by Thomas and the Shakes, a four-man band from Rochester.

Albert Leans packed into every shaded space in the park as the band filled the air with its acoustic folk and rock music.

Susan Runden, an attendee of the live music event, said she tries to make it to the live music each week. She said she enjoyed the band last week at the same event, Six Mile Grove.

The Thursdays on Fountain performance attracted more people as the performance went on. Some passersby — unaware of the park’s activities — stopped what they were doing, pulled their headphones out of their ears and took in the sights and sounds of Thursdays on Fountain for a few minutes.

People sit on lawn chairs, blankets and the ground itself during Thursdays on Fountain this week in downtown Albert Lea. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“I just feel like they did a beautiful job with this whole park and area,” Runden said. “The music is very nice, I hope it catches on.”

Jet skis and boats roamed the lake during the seventh consecutive week of concerts, creating a unique backdrop for the gazebo full of musicians.

“I forgot how beautiful Albert Lea is, with the lake back here,” Mark Walsh, a member of the band, said between sets. Walsh played many instruments throughout the performance, including tenor saxophone and flute.

The band consists of Thomas Wescott on guitar and vocals, Garret Kolb on percussion, Mark Walsh on different horns and Mike Nesbit on bass guitar.

Thomas and the Shakes will launch their new album, “Mind Your Time,” at a release party in Rochester on July 21. The event will take place at Forager Brewing Co.

Earlier this spring, Albert Lea Recreation Director Bob Furland said Susie Petersen, executive director of the Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau, approached him with the idea and secured grants from Explore Minnesota and Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

Thomas and the Shakes perform Thursday evening at Fountain Lake Park during the weekly Thursdays on Fountain. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

More than 50 percent of performers will be local acts, Furland said.

“We have well-rounded entertainment, so it should be good for everybody,” he said.

Food and drink vendors were present at the event in the park, including Burger Depot, Conger Inn Victory Catering, Albert Lea CVB and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

“It will be downtown, and we love to have people come downtown to any of our parks, but Fountain Lake Park was kind of made for this kind of event,” Furland said.

He called the concert series a great atmosphere for community members to meet neighbors, friends and meet new people.

Thursdays on Fountain comes after the Music in the Park series last summer in Fountain Lake Park.

Remaining Thursdays on Fountain performance schedule

July 13: High Street Band

July 20: True North

July 27: Ripdoozer

Aug. 3: No performance (week of Freeborn County Fair)

Aug. 10: Jack and Kitty

Aug. 17: Flashback from 5:30 to 7 p.m, Albert Lea Community Band from 7 to 8 p.m.

Aug 24: 3 Wheels & Ab

Aug. 31: Incognito


Thursdays on Fountain comes after the Music in the Park series last summer in Fountain Lake Park. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

About Evelyn Seffinga

Evelyn Seffinga covers education and arts and culture for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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