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Former Miss Northwest and current Miss West Metro, Kathryn Knuttila, played a little dinner music as people waited to get served at Tuesday's ParkFest in the Detroit Lakes Pavilion. Knuttila will be competing for the title of Miss Minnesota on June 20.

Rain forces picnickers to enjoy ParkFest indoors

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Rainy weather and cloudy skies kept the crowd slow for most of the day at the first ParkFest on Tuesday, but by the time the programs wrapped up around 7:30 p.m., between 600 and 700 people had attended throughout the day, according to organizer Amy Stearns.

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Due to inclement weather during the majority of the day, most activities were moved inside to the Pavilion or cancelled.

Still, Stearns said she was pleased with the attendance.

"It was slower with the weather, if it had been 75 and sunny and bright (there would have been more people)" she said, "but to get that many people out for a community picnic is great."

Last year, during Minnesota's Sesquicentennial Capitol for a Day festivities brought in closer to 1,000 people, but Stearns said the two days can't be compared, with warmer weather last year, and the Capitol for a Day celebration simply being a bigger deal.

Tuesday's festivities kicked off with a choir performance by the Lake Park-Audubon fifth and sixth graders at 1 p.m., followed by an environmental-themed play by about 30 Holy Rosary students.

Although the festivities hit a lull between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., more people stopped by as the workday came to a close and school was let out.

Nashville native Andy Karg took the stage at 4 p.m. He and Miss West Metro, Detroit Lakes native Kathryn Knuttila, traded the spotlight for two hours as they serenaded the crowd.

Shortly before the meal was served, after the colors had been presented and the National Anthem was sung, Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk welcomed everyone to the event and thanked all those involved.

"We want to make this better every year," he said. "It's so great that people came out in spite of the weather."

Lining the windows of the Pavilion were 66 large glass mosaic windows made by school children in the area, for the second Mosaic Mania silent auction.

Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center's Development and Outreach Coordinator Becky Mitchell said all the mosaics were sold, most of them for around $50 or $75, but the top bid was for $250, although she didn't know which mosaic was the top.

Some that did well, she said, were a sunflower mosaic by Bruce Bogda's fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary, and a tulip mosaic by Lynn Wolf's fifth grade class at Holy Rosary.

More than 2,000 students at eight area elementary schools took part in the mosaic project, which Mitchell and other volunteers put together over five months.

Many elementary schools no longer have art curriculums, so the program is free to the students and the school, and the money from the auctions goes straight back to the program.

Several area businesses manned informational booths inside the Pavilion, including the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center, the Humane Society of the Lakes, the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, and the We B Green program at Soo Pass Ranch.

The City of Detroit Lakes was also there, helping residents sign up for the new Honeywell Instant Alert program. Booth workers said it had been quiet most of the day, but they signed up about 20 people before 5 p.m., and roughly 40 people by the end of the day, said Lynne Krieger, the assistance city administrator.

Chuck and Cindy Berg, attending with another pair of friends, said they thought the evening's festivities were "very nice."

Cindy said they were unable to go earlier in the day, they said, but would take time to walk around to the booths after finishing their complimentary picnic dinner: hotdogs and potato chips.

The evening capped off with a short concert by a capella group InPulse, who had a crowd of about 200 people, including many high school students, Stearns said.

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