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Ahh, good times: 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival another success

Two men dressed as clowns spray the crowd with water. Many floats incorporated water, either in the form of water balloons or hoses. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)1 / 12
Frankie Ballard sings at the Bash on the Beach. Ballard is a country music singer. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)2 / 12
Frankie Ballard takes a selfie with the crowd at the Bash on the Beach. Ballard is a country music singer. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)3 / 12
A team races toward the finish line at the Bed Races. The "Backpack Brigade" won this year's races. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)4 / 12
Water Carnival co-admiral Dustin Hildenbrand participates in the Bed Races. He and co-admiral Kate Spaeth competed against each other in one race. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)5 / 12
A little girl cheers as she gets sprayed with water at the parade. Several floats incorporated water into the parade. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)6 / 12
A girl uses a squirt gun to shower the crowd with water. Several floats incorporated water into the parade. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)7 / 12
Two women listen to Troubadour, the band that opened for Frankie Ballard. The Bash on the Beach took place on Saturday night. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)8 / 12
Mayor Duke sits on a float at the parade. Duke the Dog is the mayor of Cormorant Township. (Meagan PIttelko/Tribune) 9 / 12
The members of the Bremer Bank Bed Races team pose with their trophy. The team won "Best Spirit." (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)10 / 12
A woman gives the camera a thumbs-up at the Bash on the Beach. The Bash featured Frankie Ballard with opener Troubadour. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)11 / 12
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Over the last 10 days, lakes area residents and visitors have dodged water balloons, raced through the streets on mattresses, competed in athletic challenges and--of course--swooned over musician Frankie Ballard.

The 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival officially came to an end this weekend, culminating in a final three days packed with activities.

Bed Races took over City Park on Friday as teams competed for the trophy and onlookers cheered from the sideline (or the beer garden).

In the end, the "Backpack Brigade" overtook a team from Bremer Bank, becoming a three-time Bed Races champ.

The Kiwanis team was recognized for raising the most money.

"This seems like more work than usual," remarked a member of the Bremer Bank team, which did end up taking home the trophy for "Best Spirit."

On Saturday, the Carnival kicked off early, with participants taking part in the Neon Fun Run and the Chili Cook-Off right away in the morning.

Kids' games, a softball tournament, the Pet Show, the Pet & Doll Parade, a sand volleyball tournament and a bean bag tournament kept carnival-goers entertained throughout the remainder of the day as they awaited the annual Bash on the Beach celebration.

Pontoons lined the shore and excited fans closed in on the stage later that night, as country music singer Frankie Ballard began crooning into the microphone.

For many, it was the first Ballard concert they'd attended--but for two superfans from Minneapolis, Ballard was no stranger.

Jacquelyn Bullert and Joni Pohl, both of whom lived in Fargo prior to moving to Minneapolis, leaned eagerly over the fence as they awaited Ballard's entrance.

"This is my 97th time seeing him," Bullert said, "and it's her 78th time. He's one of the sweetest people on the planet."

Pohl agreed, adding, "Plus, he puts on one of the best live shows ever."

The following morning--after an especially late night, as Ballard's concert wrapped up around 11:30 p.m.--concert-goers recovered with the KC Pancake Breakfast and children snatched tootsie rolls from the pavement during the Parade of the Northwest.

All in all, another successful year of the Northwest Water Carnival is in the books--and next year's admirals are already beginning to plan the next one.