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Hiking Fest Aug. 28

The North Country Trail Association and Itasca State Park will host a family-friendly event called North Country Hiking Fest at Itasca State Park on Saturday, Aug. 28.

The 4th Annual North Country Hiking Fest event features a variety of free activities, including guided hikes, workshops, door prizes and an evening concert by Lake Itasca. The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. with a social time and light refreshments served in the Jacob Brower Visitors Center classroom.

There will be information on hand about hiking and volunteering on the North Country Trail. From 10:15 until 11, there will be a presentation by Connie Cox, Lead Naturalist on "North Country Wildlife." This will be an opportunity to tell your "trail tales" or to ask questions about North Country wildlife.

At noon, there will be a guided hike on the North Country Trail (Hike 5 miles from Spider Lake Trail to Itasca.) with free car shuttles provided. Hikers should bring bug spray, a rain jacket, adequate water and a trail lunch. For those not wanting to go on a long hike, there will be two shorter hikes beginning at 1 p.m.

These include a health challenge hike where hikers will learn about the health benefits of hiking on the way to the Aiton Heights fire tower and a short, self-guided scavenger hike. There will also be a geo-caching 101 outdoor exercise beginning at 1 p.m. at Forest Inn.

For those folks interested in family-friendly activities, there will be a "Nature of the North Country Hike" and an animal tracks activity and hike at 3:30 p.m., both at Forest Inn.

Beginning at 5 p.m., a cookout dinner (barbecue pork sandwich, chips, water, veggies and fruit) will be available for $7 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Forest Inn. Participants are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chairs as seating will be limited.

Following dinner, some door prizes will be given away and a rousing game of North Country Jeopardy will be played. Finally, to wrap up the day, the Holker Family will perform at Forest Inn from 6:30 until 8 p.m.

Complete event guides with schedules, event locations and maps are available on the Laurentian Lakes chapter website,, and they will also be available the day of the event at the event info station within the Jacob Brower Visitors Center.

North Country Hiking Fest will be held rain or shine but the schedule and location of events may change depending upon the weather. For more information, contact Matt Davis of the NCTA at (701) 388-1883 or via email at or Itasca at (218) 699-7251 or via email at