Spirit of the Lakes Festival
The Spirit of the Lakes Festival is a festival for the community put on by the community. Today it is a two-day event with live music, parades, an art festival, business showcase, wakesurf competition, and entertainment for all ages. The name may have changed, but the idea to have a festival in our community is not a new one.
Almost 25 years ago, it began when a few business owners decided it was time to put together a fun event that brought everyone together. These members of the community gathered ideas and volunteers and created a festival called Mound City Days.
A review of the souvenir booklet from Mound City Days 1987, the City of Mound’s 75th anniversary, reveals a line-up of activities starting with a three day sale at the downtown Mound merchants. City Days was traditionally held the third weekend of June. Friday evening featured an all-Mound alumni reunion at the Mound VFW and a teenage sock hop. Saturday’s events included the parade (which used to start at the Pond Arena and end at the Mound Bay Park), boat rides by Al & Alma’s, historical displays, antique car show, a two-day softball tournament and lots of activities at the park. The Mound Fire Department fish fry was held that afternoon and the day finished off with the Fire Department Dance.
The Around Mound Run started in 1986 and ran for several years during Mound City Days. MDA Mud Volleyball at the WRA Park was also part of the City Days schedule in its early years. In 1990, the popular City Days Golf Tournament was added to the schedule, followed by the Legion Steak Fry and the Friday night dance at the Pond Arena. Other events over the years included the Kiddie Parade, carnival, K-9 dog demonstrations, water-ski shows, outdoor wrestling tournament, petting zoo, pony rides and more.
A terrific fireworks display was added to the schedule for Sunday night and proved to be the most popular event of the weekend, bringing families, neighbors and friends together. After a couple of rained out years, organizers changed the fireworks show to Saturday night to allow Sunday to be the back-up day in case of rain. It is a tradition the community has come to love!
Over the years, Mound City Days went through changes and was run by various committed organizations and incredible volunteers. Downtown construction and a shrinking volunteer force put the festival on hiatus in 2000. For the next few years, there was no City Days Festival at all.
But once again a few community leaders and business owners gathered to bring together a celebration of the incredible Lake Minnetonka area and called it Spirit of the Lakes Art Festival. It was an opportunity for local artists, and later businesses, to showcase their work as well as a gathering of the collective lake area community.
In 2007, the event evolved into its current form and the Spirit of the Lakes Festival, Inc. was formed. Its sole purpose is to organize the annual event. Every penny raised stays with the festival.
Today, this event is still the collaboration of volunteers with a commitment to our community, our families and fun. It truly is a festival “By the Community, For the Community.” It takes place in Western Lake Minnetonka area, with a majority of the event happening in the city of Mound.
The festival is a two-day event that is held the third week in July. Although details may change, generally this event includes a variety of live music from popular bands, a national wakesurf competition, a grand parade, arts festival & business showcase, live stage shows, fire dancers, a food court, beverage tastings, boat tours, history displays, kids activities and so much more! The event ends with a huge fireworks display over Lake Minnetonka!
This amazing festival is fun for all ages and is made possible by dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors.