Join the Friends of Itasca State Park during the peak of fall colors for an event-filled afternoon Saturday, Oct. 5.

All are welcome to attend the Friends of Itasca State Park’s annual meeting at 1 p.m. at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center classroom to learn about park activities – past, present and future.

From 3 to 4 p.m. the Friends will host “Spiders Demystified!” with author, naturalist, retired science teacher and spider enthusiast Larry Weber, also at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center.

We see spiders around our homes and parks regularly, but we do not get good information about them. Join Weber for his presentation on what a spider is (and is not). The program will look at the anatomy of spiders, both exterior and interior. Weber also will give the audience a look at some of the more common spider families we are likely to encounter. And he’ll examine the typical life cycle of spiders. Weber will be available to autograph copies of his book, “Spiders of the North Woods,” after the program.

The Friends of Itasca State Park are sponsoring Itasca Getaway, a raffle to benefit Itasca State Park. This year’s proceeds will go toward the cost of replacing playground equipment.

First prize is a weekend park package, including three nights and four breakfast and evening meals at a Douglas Lodge cabin; four adult tickets for the Chester Charles’ history and wildlife tour; a $100 gift certificate at Itasca Sports Rental and one annual park permit.

Second prize is four adult tickets for the Chester Charles, four evening meals at Douglas Lodge and one annual park permit.

Third prize is one annual park permit.

Raffle tickets, at $5 each, are available until Friday, Oct. 4 at the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Rock Creek General Store and Itasca Sports. Tickets will be sold Saturday at Friends’ events until the drawing at 4:30 p.m. at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center.

It has been a busy and rewarding year for Itasca Park and the Friends. They did the following:

  • raised $2,960 in the 2018 raffle, which will go toward restoring and framing historic photos that will be displayed in park cabins.

  • provided over $1,500 in funding for Itasca’s Music Under the Pines entertainers, Yoga in the Park (a big new hit) and various education programs.

  • volunteered at numerous functions including Snowshoe Hikes, Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday, the new amphitheater dedication and many ice cream socials, which raised nearly $1,000 to be used to benefit the park.

  • continued the process to have the park certified as a “Dark Sky” location.

Annual membership in the Friends is $20 per person or $30 per family. Donations also are welcome. Either may be mailed to Friends of Itasca State Park, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470 or go online to and click on “Join/Renew.” The Friends is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization.

For more information about the Friends, go to or visit the Friends of Itasca State Park on Facebook.