by Dennis Dalman
Area residents, including many from Sartell, had a chance to “bond” with their great river, the Mighty Mississippi, last Sunday during the fifth annual “Take a Day Off at the River.”
The event, once again, took place at the Stearns County Mississippi River Park on CR 1 north of Sartell.
A combination of fun and learning was apparent throughout the park as parents and children fished from shore, took pontoon rides, tried their hand at canoeing and kayaking or just took walking tours to learn about the flora and fauna of the riverbank world.
Others enjoyed watching the Department of Natural Resources demonstrate electrofishing (stunning fish into temporary immobility using an electric current); testing skills at a laser shooting range, taking part in archery, building birdhouses, visiting a station where there were “old-time” fur traders talking about the Minnesota voyageurs of days of yore.
One of the biggest attractions this year, as in previous years, was the presentation of many exotic animals courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo.
Altogether, there were more than 40 features at the event, including hands-on activities and educational booths.
Well over 1,000 people attended “Take a Day Off at the River.”
Since the event began five years ago, its popularity has increased exponentially every year since. Last year 1,300 people attended.
The event is sponsored by Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District, Stearns County Parks, Benton County, St. Cloud State University and the Department of Natural Resources. Many volunteers also made the day possible, including widespread support from local sportsmen’s clubs.photo by Dennis Dalman
Budding little Robin Hoods aim at wild-animal targets. The archery activity was one of many fun things to do last Saturday at “Take a Day Off at the MIssissippi.”
A lone boater floats on the majestic, placid Mississippi River.
Last-minute adjustments to life preservers are made just before a pontoon launches off for a river ride.
People disembark from a Voyageur-style canoe after a pleasant ride on the river.
A sister and brother, Aswan and Aborashid Ali, pause for a photo during a picnic lunch Sunday at the “Take a Day Off at the River,” which was held at Mississippi River Park north of Sartell.
A girl paints a fish plaque that she will use as a colorful stencil for an artwork.
Amelia Hanson of Sauk Rapids takes a sip of ice-cold well water at “Take a Day Off at the River.”