The City of Maple Lake thrives on volunteerism


(Photo by Bob Zimmerman)

Volunteers make things happen in Maple Lake and there is a lot happening.

Brewfest

For starters, on Saturday, June 18, the city will host its second annual Brewfest. The event had its debut last year in conjunction with the city’s 125th anniversary. There was music and food and the whole event attracted about 200 people, Maple Lake City Clerk Lee Ann Yager said.

This year many vendors will be in attendance, offering some of their most sought-after brews. It will all take place at Irish Stadium where amenities, like bathrooms and fencing, are all conveniently on hand.

With an initial fee at the door, or a ticket purchased in advance, visitors receive a mug, a score card, a poker chip and a selection of more than 60 craft beers, along with wines and spirits available for sampling.

The mug is for tasting, the score card is for keeping track of favorite brews and the poker chip is for voting, Yager said. Last year Spilled Grain Brewery of Annandale won the most votes for the Taster’s Choice Award.

“We had buckets at all the vendors’ tables and you just threw your chip in the bucket of the beer that you thought was the best,” Yager said.

Spilled Grain will be back again this year for a shot at a second award, along with several other Minnesota brewers such as Mankato Brewery and Brau Brothers Brewing Co. out of Lucan, MN, to name a few. There will also be the more well-known Leinenkugel’s, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, MillerCoors and more. See the full list of vendors online at maplelakebrewfest.com.

There will be music by Everett Smithson, a “bluegrass, Cajun” kind of band, that will entertain with their use of the washboard and accordion, Yager said.

The Maple Lake Lions will sell burgers, Bernatello’s Pizza will serve Brew Pub pizza, and there will be kettle corn and Minnesota Mule Mixes for sale.

Throughout it all local radio station KRWC will broadcast live and the River Crow Radio Show will broadcast from 1 until 2 p.m.

Beer sampling starts at 2 p.m. and lasts until 5 p.m.

Making it all possible are the sponsors: The Maple Lake Messenger, Schlenner Wenner & Co., Maple Lake Lions, Rhino, and Bernatello’s Pizza contributed at the “Cask” level which is $500; American Legion Post 131 sponsored at the “Growler” level which is $250; Carefree Lawn Sprinklers, Maple Lake Lumber, Star Bank, MP Nexlevel, Total Care Chiropractic, and Todd Borell Home Remodeling & Repair sponsored at the “Howler” level of $100; and Book Break, Maple Lake Veterinary Clinic, Oak Realty, and Subway sponsored at the “Bomber” level which is $50.

Tickets for Brewfest can be purchased at a discount price of $25 if done in advance on-line, or purchased at Maple Lake Wine and Spirits or city hall. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for the full price for $30.

Movies on Birch

The city, with the help of its many volunteers, will continue its Movies on Birch for the seventh year this summer. The first took place on Saturday, May 21st with “Big Hero 6,” and Disney’s “Up” will be shown on Friday, August 19th starting at dusk.

The May movie was sponsored by Bernatello’s Pizza and the August show will be sponsored by Thomes Insurance Agency. Each year the sponsor provides generous prizes that are given away throughout the night, Yager said. There is no cost for any of the fun.

Maple Lake is part of a 10-city consortium which makes up the Sherburne Wright Cable Commission and it is this commission that puts on the movie. In the past, the opportunity to watch a movie outside on a jumbo screen has drawn crowds of up to 200 people. If you have questions about the movie, contact Elizabeth Borell at 320-963-3611.

Farmer’s Market

New to Maple Lake this year is the Farmer’s Market. According to Yager it’s been a dream of city councilmember John Northenscold to get a farmers market going in town, and this will be the year it comes to fruition.

Located on the city lot on the corner of Birch and Division, people will have the chance to buy and sell locally-grown produce, specialty items, consumable items like fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, baked and canned goods packaged by state guidelines, plants and craft items. The city is currently looking for vendors for the farmer’s market and a volunteer to coordinate them. If interested, contact Northenscold at 320-401-1088 or Yager at 320-963-3611. The first Farmer’s Market is tentatively set for June 8 and will run through September 30, Fridays 3-7 p.m.

There is more to the City of Maple Lake than just fun. The town is prospering in other ways as well.

Pace Industries

Pace Industries’ Product Tech Division, which specializes in magnesium die casting, is working on a $6.3 million expansion project that will include a 60,000 square feet addition and result in 20 new jobs in Maple Lake.

“There are a couple of other businesses that have indicated they wish to expand as well. This means new jobs and, of course, more home construction, which has also picked up over the past year,” Mayor Lynn Kissock said.

Trailblazer Transit

Trailblazer Transit continues to provide transportation to members of the community who need help getting around. Trailblazer expanded into Wright County after River Rider ceased operations a couple of years ago, Yager said. It serves cities in Sibley, McLeod and Wright counties. To schedule at ride call Trailblazer Transit at 888-743-3828.

Airport

The Maple Lake Municipal Airport is also booming. Not only is it seeing more traffic, the Fixed Base Operator is expanding his business of aircraft repair and lessons. He is also working towards re-opening Maple Lake’s Seaplane base which will allow aircraft capable of water landings to land and dock on Maple Lake, Yager said.

According to Kissock, it’s an amenity very few airports in the state offer.

The airport courtesy shuttle is thriving as well, she added.

“The service makes it easier for folks flying in to drive to town and visit our restaurants and other businesses,” she said.

Library and Hwy. 55 beautification

Meanwhile, Maple Lake’s volunteer-run library is thriving and growing new programs and ideas, and the Laker’s amateur baseball team continues to pull in crowds, Kissock said. city maintenance staff and volunteers are also responsible for the second Highway 55 Beautification planting which took place recently.

Maple Lake Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Ambassadors got their hands dirty in an attempt to make the stretch Highway 55 between the Maple Lake Elementary School and the stoplights more beautiful. The city has been working in collaboration with the MN Department of Transportation, the organization that provides the funding, for two years on this project, Kissock said. Last year the city received $3,000 to plant trees along Hwy. 55 in front of the elementary school. This year the city received $5,000 in funding. Next year Kissock expects about $8,000 for the beautification effort.

“I can’t be prouder of this community and how people come together to get things done,” Kissock said.

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