From the Lefthand Corner: Music in the park offers a pleasant summer evening

Don Bye - From the Lefthand Corner.jpg
Don Bye, columnist

In our summer inundated by COVID-19, we’ve had a welcome respite here in Echoland.

Entertainment and other diversion have been scarce this year, with closed up clubs, churches, county fairs and so many other canceled community events.

We still have one warm, friendly, congenial event recurring every summer weekend in Pequot Lakes, and similarly in Crosslake. In Pequot, a Band in the Park shows up at Trailside Park every Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. There has been only one exception when a threatening storm caused cancellation.

The event is free, unless you choose to donate to the tip jar for the band or to make a donation to the Pequot Lakes Library at the popular popcorn stand.

Bring your own comfort. The promos say bring a blanket, and many do. More of us old-timers bring collapsible chairs that are more comfortable to sit in and easier to get up from. Park benches are also available to early arrivals.


The venue is highly accessible with available parking all along the Government Drive side and - even on most crowded nights - within a block or so.

It’s a quiet, peaceful setting right in the middle of town. Bigger than a football field, there is plenty of room for 6-foot distancing.

A hundred or so, plus or minus, show up each Saturday. Some people come as a family or group. Some people meet there and sit together. Others run into acquaintances and sit together. You see a lot of couples and a few singles. Some sit in the same spots week after week. Others move to get into or escape the setting sun.

Some attendees are regulars that you see every Saturday night. More are occasional. They are locals with visitors, or others who attend dependent upon the band, the weather or whether they have other things to do. Some are in town, hear the music, walk over and find a place to sit and listen.

The music is quality music. The musicians are from all around us - some local, others from not very far away, most all from somewhere in Minnesota. They know each other and know the area. Most important, they’ve been performing awhile and know how to please their audiences.

For most of us, particularly older folks, it is a serene, sedate and sedentary event.

However, whenever the music is danceable, at least a few brave souls rise to the music and find plenty of open grassy areas for impromptu dance floors. When more dancers get the urge, the large grassy area in front of the band shell becomes center stage.

Last Saturday night, the star of the show was all of 2 or 3 years old. She was the Energizer Bunny personified, except at higher gear. After listening to a song or two she started bouncing and twirling to the music, first in front of their bench, then out to the middle of the grassy area. Before long she joined adult dancers, enticed others to dance and even dragged out several teenagers to the center “dance” floor.


She will likely draw crowds through life if she stays that self possessed. Her “grandparents” must have been exhausted after a few hours trying to keep up with her, or track of her.

Bands in the Park only runs a couple more weeks. If you haven’t done so, try it before the season ends.

Some come early, settle in and stay late. Some come late and leave early. Others stay to the end and engage band members with parting comment and reminiscing.

If the weather gets chilly as the sun goes down, the crowd thins out before the band winds down. If the night stays warm, the attendance enthusiastic and the band willing, the event goes a few favorite songs beyond 9 o’clock.

Try it on Saturday night in Trailside Park. I bet you’ll be glad you did.

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