I want to first thank the attendees, volunteers, businesses and committee members for putting on a wonderful 2019 Lakefront Days event. The weather cooperated for the stationary parade, which allowed spectators to not only get the usual candy and giveaways as the traditional parade but allowed them to interact with the businesses/non-profits/student groups represented in the parade.
I saw kids interacting with the police and firemen, saw kids taking pictures of with different people at the parade and heard numerous parents say they appreciated the slower pace and the ability to interact and learn more about the people and businesses who make up our great town. It was great to see so many people in the park enjoying the day.
Now I’d like to explain some things that go into Lakefront Days to help dispel some of the misconceptions. Yes, Lakefront Days used to be more days, include a car cruise and have a carnival, talent show and many other activities. The truth of the matter is times have changed and Lakefront Days has had to change with the times. Marching bands now charge to be in parades, carnivals want to make money or they won’t return, people don’t attend talent shows, many events have been changed due to lack of participation in the past.
This year the planned construction caused us to have to look at the parade. The original construction plan had 21 and Main Avenue being closed during Lakefront Days. Even though the construction plan changed, the committee cannot make a change that quickly. Closing 21 requires a permit through the county, renting of signs notifying people of the road closure. We have to hire police to work the parade, which requires planning months in advance. The parade committee worked hard and explored many options before deciding to try a stationary parade this year. The thought was to keep some sort of parade, since we know the community loves the parade, but to make it safe through construction and still a fun event for people.
It takes many people to put on Lakefront Days, and the truth of the matter is we can’t get enough people to volunteer to run it more than two days. We’d love to say we have so many volunteers we can add many more events, but we struggle to fill the positions we currently have. People want to be paid to volunteer, and Lakefront Days doesn’t have the money to be able to pay volunteers.
The Prior Lake Chamber puts on Lakefront Days as community event to showcase our wonderful park and the people and businesses who make up our community. The negativity this year has been very disappointing and hurtful to those involved in planning the event. Instead of posting negative comments, how about asking the question of why things have changed? If you have great ideas or are passionate about having an event at Lakefront Days, then why not reach out and ask if you can help or send in your idea?
Lakefront Days isn’t like it used to be; most things today aren’t the way they used to be, good or bad, things change. Instead of spreading the negativity, let’s work together to celebrate the positive.
Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce chairwoman