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A historic celebration

Drew Perseke of Alexandria goes face to face with a goat at the Erickson Petting Zoo that was set up at Park Osagi during the Osakis Festival. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)1 / 9
The Chops Inc. Drum Corps and More of Minneapolis added a touch of bright color to Sundays grand parade. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review) 2 / 9
Former queens of the Miss Osakis Festival wave to the crowd at Sunday's parade. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)3 / 9
Aubree Didier smiles at a llama at the petting zoo Saturday. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)4 / 9
Two young boys kick back while riding in the Builders First Source pickup during the Osakis Festival Grand Parade. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review) 5 / 9
Osakis Boy Scouts "row" through downtown at Sunday's Osakis Festival Grand Parade. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review) 6 / 9
Lil Ortendahl was the grand marshal at the 50th annual Osakis Festival Grand Parade. She was the lead organizer of the first Miss Osakis Festival. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review) 7 / 9
Isaiah Neal picks up some candy while other children also add to their buckets at Sunday's parade. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)8 / 9
It was hard to determine who had more fun at the Osakis Festival Grand Parade -- those throwing the candy or those collecting the treats. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)9 / 9

Good weather and historical tie-ins to the first Osakis Festival 50 years ago made for a memorable celebration in Osakis last weekend.

Lots of children showed up for kids' activities in Park Osagi and families enjoyed the vendor displays.

"On Saturday it was so fun to see all the activity going on in the park," said Vicki Hinrichs, one of the festival organizers. "It was nice having vendors in the park, too. Food was available to buy."

Other Saturday events included the Osakis Women's Association Salad Luncheon, bean bag tournament, Let's Go Fishing pontoon rides from the lake access, Schmidt Pedal Pulls, a Kiddie Tug-of-War and a street dance by the Osakis Liquor Store.

On Sunday, the park was busy again with vendors and a craft sale. At 1 p.m., people lined the downtown streets to watch the Grand Parade with the theme, "Past and Present."

"It was fun to hear the parade participants saying how full the streets were," Hinrichs said. "And we heard lots of kids on how much candy was thrown — they had bucketfuls."

A total of 81 units were registered for the parade, which lasted a full hour.

"We had more local businesses involved this year," Hinrichs said.

Other highlights of the parade included having one of the founders of the first-ever Osakis Festival, Lil Ortendahl, serve as grand marshal and having two former Miss Osakis Queens waving to the crowd.

It rained on Sunday morning but sunny skies moved in well before the parade began.

The 50th annual Osakis Festival came to a close with the Osakis Fire Department Water Fights, and a First Presbyterian's Pie and Ice Cream Social.

All in all, it was a celebration to remember.

"There was a great mixture of things to do for all ages," said Hinrichs.

Hinrichs encouraged people to mark their calendars for the 51st annual Osakis Festival, tentatively set for June 22-23, 2019.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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