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Nevis Muskie Days draws crowds

The Muskie 5-K Fun Run was a family affair for this group. Rob Hall and his wife Liz both won third place medals in the age 60-69 category, while grandsons Sam Vigmostad (age 9) and Cooper Vigmostad (age 6) won medals in their age divisions, too. The Muskie wore a wrist band on its fin in honor of the 68th Muskie Days. 1 / 4
Muskie Days music included more than 25 performers. Sierra Branson sang soulful compositions to kick off Saturday's music. During her performances, she also played the guitar and ukelele. Photos by Lorie Skarpness/Enterprise.2 / 4
Muskie Days celebrates the big fish in Lake Belle Taine, but even young anglers had some good catches Saturday morning. Carter Pidde, age 8, won 1st place the biggest fish in the 8-10 age group with this 8-inch rock bass. He attends Andover Elementary but has cousins in Nevis and said it was the first time he won a fishing contest. Lorie Skarpness/Enterprise.3 / 4
Buttery corn on the cob was among the tasty treats for sale at Muskie Days. Karch Frazier, age 10, said his corn tasted really good. He is going into fifth grade at Nevis School.4 / 4

Those attending the 68th Annual Muskie Days/Music Festival in Nevis enjoyed mostly favorable weather and a variety of options for entertainment, fun and food.

The festival kicked off Friday night, with a crowd enjoying the Lions' "sold-out" fish fry.

Saturday featured sunny skies and a cool breeze as young anglers headed to the pier for the fishing contest.

There were lots of games for the kids at Muskie Park and on main street, along with vendors selling popcorn, donuts, corn on the cob, walleye, sandwiches, snow cones, lemonade and much more.

Nevis Civic and Commerce Association president Nancy Lewis described the Muskie Days Music Festival as having "a family-friendly flavor and a relaxed vibe."

"The crowd size is hard to gauge because of the different locations for music throughout town," she said. "People are spread out and move around to find the music they like, and I think that's really great. It makes it not feel so claustrophobic, too."

Lewis added, "We've had a lot of compliments over the weekend and into Monday from people saying 'Wow, the music was really great this year.' We had more entries in the parade than usual with 30. I got rained on during line-up, but the sprinkle washed the streets for everybody. I got a lot of comments from people who said it was a really good parade this year."

Lewis said her personal favorite was the Nevis Lions' float. "They used the old C&C float with the Muskie on the front," she said. "They had a rope through the muskie's mouth going back to a lion on water skis."

The C&C will hold a planning meeting later in August to recap this year's Muskie Days and explore new ideas for next year's festival. They are also looking for someone to help coordinate the event. Information about the meeting will be on the Nevis Chamber website.

Tracy Ganley, one of the event coordinators and co-owner of Muskie Waters, said the weather was much better this year. "Last year was too hot," she said. "It was even perfect timing for Saturday's rain shower, because it came in between the kids games finishing up and before the parade started. Music was great and it was a good crowd. Everything went smoothly."

The festival was a boost for local businesses, Lewis said.

"It was a good weekend for us," Ganley said. "We went through a lot of ice cream. I don't have the exact numbers, but I know our numbers are up from last year at the shop."

Ganley said one thing they hope to improve on next year is more volunteers to help with wrist band sales. "The wristbands are what help fund the festival," she said.

Brian Skinness is the Muskie Days Music Festival coordinator. "I thought it was quite possibly the best Music Festival yet," he said. "It was all really nice and open and friendly and relaxed. I didn't hear about any problems."

More than 25 bands took the stage, and Skinness said he thought wristband sales improved, with the Muskie statue even sporting a wristband on its fin for the occasion.

Skinness put a positive spin on the brief downpour Saturday afternoon.

"It was a community-building event when the rain came," he said. "Everybody pitched in to cover up the speakers real quick and then everybody huddled under the tents until it stopped. It freshened up the street and it didn't seem like anybody left because of it. There was that five-minute downpour and then sprinkles for the next 15 minutes and that was it."

He described the evening performances as "perfect."

"Bands loved playing here," he said. "They can't say enough good things about Nevis. It's a really cool place for these bands who are on the road. They really enjoy playing here. It has evolved and we hit a level of maturity this year."

Music will continue from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday evenings at Shenanigan's stage in Nevis through August. For more information, call Terrapin Station at 218-652-3091.

Overall, sales were down for the Municipal Liquor Store compared to last year's Muskie Days. "The beer garden by the main stage seems like it was pretty close to the numbers we had last year, but we didn't have the crowds we had when we had more music outside the Muni," liquor store manager Kiley Weaver said.