Residents ‘bond’ with Mighty Miss at river event

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.”

photo by Dennis Dalman
A lone boater floats on the majestic, placid Mississippi River.

photo by Dennis Dalman
Last-minute adjustments to life preservers are made just before a pontoon launches off for a river ride.

photo by Dennis Dalman
People disembark from a Voyageur-style canoe after a pleasant ride on the river.

photo by Dennis Dalman
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.

photo by Dennis Dalman
A girl paints a fish plaque that she will use as a colorful stencil for an artwork.

photo by Dennis Dalman
Amelia Hanson of Sauk Rapids takes a sip of ice-cold well water at “Take a Day Off at the River.”

photo by Dennis Dalman
Blaine Byrd of Sartell blows into a straw to coax along a minnow toward the finish line. The minnow race was one of many children’s games at “Take a Day Off at the River” Sunday at Mississippi River Park north of Sartell.

photo by Dennis Dalman
Alexander LaPoint of St. Cloud learns how a fishing fly is created. The exhibit/demonstration was put on by the St. Cloud Area Anglers Club at “Take a Day Off at the River.”

photo by Dennis Dalman
Jim Wasdyke of Sartell, a member of the St. Cloud Area Anglers Club, demonstrates how to cast when fly-fishing.

photo by Dennis Dalman
Mady Taylor of St. Cloud gets help building a wren house, one of many activities offered at the “Take a Day Off at the River” event Sunday in Mississippi River Park. Taylor’s mother, Kasy, is at left.

photo by Dennis Dalman
While her mother, Brenda, gives pointers, Sydney Frieler of Sartell prepares to cast her line into the Mississippi River during “Take a Day Off at the River.”

photo by Dennis Dalman
Maya Hentjes of Sartell prepares to take a spin with the help of her mother, Amy.

photo by Dennis Dalman
Maya Lentner of Sartell watches with awe as a soap bubble begins to surround her body. The activity was one of the water-related exhibits Sunday at “Take a Day Off at the River.”



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About Author

Dennis Dalman
Dennis Dalman Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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