The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Friends of Itasca will host a dedication event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27 for the new Lake Itasca amphitheater at Itasca State Park.

Visitors should bring a blanket or lawn chair for a day of music, a visit from Courier-de-Bois, who will take visitors back in time to explore the life of a voyageur, and an ice cream social.

Erika Rivers, DNR Parks and Trails Division director, will dedicate the amphitheater and speak about its value and funding.

The new amphitheater is located in the picnic grounds adjacent to the swim beach and playground. It is situated along the shore of Lake Itasca and seats more than 300 people with its bench seating and open grassy areas for lawn chairs and blankets. The shape of the amphitheater, along with the sloping landscape, provide outstanding acoustics for any event, according to a DNR news release. It offers lighting for night programs and a directional sound system.

“Thanks to Legacy Amendment funding and the hard work of DNR staff, architects and engineers, we now have an amazing outdoor venue for music, entertainment and events,” Rivers said. “The setting for the amphitheater is breathtaking. Every seat offers a view of Lake Itasca and a cool breeze to go with it. What better place to be entertained and enjoy the outdoors?”

The dedication schedule is as follows:

  • 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (or while ice cream lasts): Ice Cream Social. Enjoy a sweet treat and music concert at the ice cream social. The Friends of Itasca will be making chocolate or strawberry sundaes, with proceeds going toward projects in Itasca State Park.

  • 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Nature stations. Discover information and activity stations about Itasca’s natural and cultural history.

  • 11 - 11:45 a.m.: Music of Bill and Julie Kaiser. From the north woods of Minnesota, their music has been described as acoustic “folkgrass,” with a mix of bluegrass, folk and original.

  • 12 - 12:15 p.m.: Dedication of the amphitheater. Rivers will talk about the value of the amphitheater and its funding, and thank those who worked to make it a reality.

  • 12:15 - 1 p.m.: The Voyageur. Travel back in time with a visit from a Courier-de-Bois (“ranger of the woods”) and learn the life of a voyageur. Discover how it might have been living many years ago by river and paddle.

  • 1:15 - 2 p.m.: The music of “Unpolished.” The musical group performs an eclectic mix of roots, Americana and bluegrass music on bass, guitar, mandolin and banjo, complete with rich three-part harmonies.

Funding for the amphitheater is from the Parks and Trails Legacy fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Beginning in 2020, the amphitheater will be available to rent hourly. For more information, visit mndnr.gov/state_parks/itasca/.