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Otter Fest 2009 draws record turnout

Kids scramble to pick up roadside candy during the August 8 Otter Fest parade in Ottertail city. (Heidi Kratzke/Perham Enterprise Bulletin)

OTTERTAIL -- Despite overcast skies and a cooler than average summer day, this year's annual Otter Fest city celebration on August 8 brought out a record crowd.

Families flanked the city's streets well before the parade was set to take off down Ottertail's main drag. As people set up their stations along the parade route, it became evident that this year's turnout was record breaking.

"I think this was the biggest parade we've ever had," confirms Otter Fest parade organizer Kathy Wagenman.

Wagenman said this year's parade included over 50 entries, along with several new entries from businesses such as Otter Tail Power Company and Red Roof Animal Hospital. Spectators were dazzled by the impressive array of floats, a local marching band, plenty of lakes area royalty, dance troupes, and a whole brigade of clowns.

There was also a strong showing the night before at the August 7 Ottertail Rod and Gun Club annual demolition derby. Hundreds of spectators filled the derby area near the Ottertail water tower, off of Highway 108.

"We also had twice as many entries with our arts and crafts booths," Wagenman reported of Saturday's events. The community center was packed throughout the day as the Lions Club members held their traditional pancake feed and large groups gathered to play Bingo.

Topping off the city celebration was an impressive display of fireworks, sponsored by the Ottertail Lions Club. Live music by area band "Sapphire" continued on into the early morning hours, for the citywide street dance.