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‘A nice time for the community to enjoy the lake’

Weekly concert series growing

The Thursdays on Fountain series is in its second year, and organizers say attendance at the events is increasing.

The weekly concert series continued Thursday night with a performance by artists Patrick Murphy and Logan Richter. The events are from late May to the end of August at Fountain Lake Park.

Recreation Director Bob Furland deemed the first two weeks of the series this year “awesome,” noting the community band drew about 250 people this year, compared to 100 last year.

The Holy Rocka Rollaz reportedly drew nearly 500 people this year, compared to about 300 last year.

Furland said the success is due to local organizations.

“The collaborating part between us, the CVB and Park and Rec, and also the community support, the hospital,” he said.

“There’s a lot of community support, also.”

The concerts include vendors who sell food and beverages.

“It’s a nice time for the community to enjoy the lake and the music,” Furland said.

“They dance,” said Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susie Petersen. “It’s fun to see (the) people dance.”

She said the events help the community’s tourism.

“We have people that stay in our hotels,” she said. And they always want — if you’re driving through town, or maybe you’re seeing relatives — it’s just something to do for the people who are staying in our hotels during the summer.”

Furland said working contractors have told him they want to attend future concerts after hearing a show.

“It’s fun to see 487 people out at a park on a Thursday night,” he said.

Local organizations have received funding to ensure the event can take place. A $25,000 grant was given to the CVB from the Merna Sunde estate, and grants from Explore Minnesota and Mayo Clinic were also received.

Furland and Petersen noted the evolution of the series in its second year.

“Last year we really had to work to find people, and this year more people found us,” Furland said. 

Petersen noted the concert schedule allows concertgoers to shop downtown before the event and possibly attend an Albert Lea Lakers game after.

Furland said the concerts are “fun.”

“It’s something on a Thursday night that a family can do,” he said. “You get to enjoy our lakes, you get to enjoy great music and enjoy our downtown area.”

Albert Lea resident Tom Dziura said he enjoys the concerts.

“The music is always great,” he said. “We’ve got a great night, the breeze blowing off the lake. You can’t beat it.”

“This is fantastic. All the hard work that went into it — it’s just, here it is right now. It’s great.”

Kay Boykin of Albert Lea and her family attended the concert while having a family picnic. Boykin was informed of the concert by her granddaughter.

“It’s great that it’s being used,” she said. “We drive by a lot of times, and (think) ‘we should do that sometime, we should do it sometime,’ so we did.”

 

Concert schedule

June 21: The Ripdoozers

June 28: Wayward

July 5: Easy Heart

July 12: Skunk River Band

July 19: Six Mile Grove

July 26: 3 Wheels and a b

Aug. 9: Casi Joy

Aug. 16: Patchouli

Aug. 23: Jack and Kitty

Aug. 30: Emerson Avenue Band

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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