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Summer memories: Dodgeball, winning Bingo

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

There is always that first week of summer when our town goes from being a ghost town to an insane, summer-soaked city overflowing with tourists and summer families. It's also the week when there is nothing to do, and everyone's busy, except me.

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Seeing our town change always brings back summer memories (like biking all over town, and building forts). But when I was little there were two things I looked forward to the most, they were going to the rec center, and the Becker County Fair.

I first started going to the rec when I was seven or eight. My parents had me in the summer latchkey program, and every Tuesday we would go to the rec in the afternoon.

I was extremely sporty (especially when I was little) and I loved the idea of getting to check out whatever I wanted to do, and getting to run around with my friends and drink pops, but my favorite was getting to play dodgeball every day.

By the time I was 10 I was going to the rec every day, every week for the whole summer, and it was where I met most of my friends and what kept me active all summer, and I still go down there every now and again for some dodgeball (c'mon, it's the best).

Now I loved the rec but I always looked forward to our (extremely cheesy) county fair even more. I remember being eight years old, and my mom would buy me a wristband and watch me ride rides all day (and than walk me behind the horse barns to throw up afterwards).

As I got older, I started going with my friends every year. I was still only like 10 years old and I used to love getting to stay out all night with my buddies, and we would walk around the fair spending money, and eating and always having fun.

When I was 14 my buddy Nate moved to town, and Nate was the biggest Becker County Fair fanatic I had ever met.

We started playing Bingo at the 4-H barn, and Nate and I would each buy a card, then if one of us won, we'd split the pot. Well, Nate won -- and he kept winning, and we would go spend almost all the money, and than come back and win more. By the end of the fair that year, we each had $160 extra in our pockets.

After that year, Nate moved away, but he came back that summer just for the fair, and went right back to the Bingo barn and did exactly what he did the year before.

And now every summer during the Becker county Fair, Nate comes back to town, and just like him winning, us playing has become a tradition.

Jonah Bowe is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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