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Buses ready to shuttle visitors to WE Fest

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If there's a negative about WE Fest, it's dealing with traffic.

There is a remedy for that as the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce sets up a shuttle bus service to get visitors between Soo Pass Ranch and Detroit Lakes without any hassle.

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The shuttle serves as a fundraiser for the chamber, said Ted Anderson, owner of Anderson Bus & Coach of Frazee, the company that owns and operates the buses.

All-day shuttle tickets cost $6 and a three-day pass is $14. Campers at Soo Pass Ranch ride for free with a valid campground wristband.

"People may grumble about paying, but once they know it's a fundraiser, they're OK with it," Anderson said.

In this economy, Anderson said that the WE Fest helps his business and others with the revenue the festival brings in.

"I'm real appreciative of WE Fest for the business," Anderson said.

The shuttles will run from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday continuously.

Anderson said that there will be 16 buses operating, with up to 35 drivers working split shifts.

With a lot of people riding, Anderson said he hasn't had any problems.

"You'd think you would have problems with people drinking, but people are generally happy," Anderson said. "They want to escape everyday stuff and have fun."

This is the 13th year that Anderson Bus & Coach has run a shuttle service and Anderson said that getting the contract helped when he was growing the motorcoach portion of the business.

"I was getting into the charter side of the business," Anderson said.

Work began about three weeks ago to get the right permits and insurance for the shuttle service. Anderson said that the school bus part of the company is separate from the charter side, and those operations have different requirements for permits.

"It's a fun project," Anderson said of the prep work.

The buses also get new decals and signs specifically designed for the shuttle service.

The shuttle stops at Norby's along Washington Avenue in downtown Detroit Lakes, the fairgrounds on Rossman Avenue and the west gate at Soo Pass Ranch.

Free parking is available at Peoples Park across Rossman Avenue from the fairgrounds and behind Norby's in the city-owner parking lot.

More information on the shuttle bus is available at the chamber's Web site at www.visitdetroitlakes.com. Click on events and scroll down to WE Fest.

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