Second Otsego JamFest to be bigger and better

New attractions, plus second night added to festival with Travis Tritt and The Marshall Tucker Band showcasing event

by Bob Grawey

Staff writer

Otsego JamFest is just in its second year, but has already grown into a crowd-pleasing event for the whole community. This year’s affair is Aug. 5–6 in Waterfront West in Otsego, most notably in close proximity to Holiday Inn, Rockwoods and Denny’s restaurant.

To provide a bigger venue for all ages, organizers added a day to the festival, planning a more adult theme for Friday night and events with a family feel for Saturday.

Doug Karl, one of the event organizers, says the expansion was needed to land national talent.

That was accomplished when Travis Tritt and The Marshall Tucker Band were signed for Friday night appearances. The band Jug will also play Friday night at the ticketed concerts.

Skydivers will kick off the action Friday at 4:30 p.m. as they land in a field catty-corner to where the bands will perform.

Another big change in JamFest this year is in the canoe races. Last year there was a six-mile race down the Mississippi River. That will be different this year, as a 12-mile race has been added as well as different classes.

After consulting with the Minnesota Canoe Racing Association, organizers agreed to change the course of the race, too. Entrants will begin the race at last year’s ending point near the Highway 101 bridge and paddle up river in both the six and 12-mile race. After rounding islands at the halfway point of each race, canoeists will race back down to the 101 bridge.

Canoe races begin at 7 and 8 a.m.

The second annual Ava Inspired 5K Walk-With-A-Vision is a new addition to JamFest. Karl says it just made sense to include that as part of the festival when it can give its cause more visibility.

The run and subsequent walk begin at 9 and 11:30 a.m. (See story above.)

At noon 350 to 450 bikers will leave Zylstra Harley-Davidson in Elk River on a rally to raise money for breast cancer research. Riders will eventually end up at JamFest, where their motorcycles will be on display.

A car show will also take place for those more inclined to vehicles with four wheels. It will feature a flame-throwing contest and a muffler rapping contest.

Local retailers as well as area arts and crafts vendors will display their wares. Karl says no one can sell their craft or art unless they have personally made it and are there to present it.

Food vendors are a new twist for the second annual Otsego JamFest, offering state fair-type of food to people attending the festival.

If it gets too hot, head for the water park at Holiday Inn, where park passes will be just $7 per person.

Kids will love the inflatables that will be at JamFest once again. Adults can head over to the mechanical bull to see how long they can outlast the bucking beast.

If that is too much bull, try the more tranquil hot air balloon ride, also new this year.

And starting at 1 p.m., music will be the backdrop with the Battle of the Bands kicking up some noise. Seven of Each band follows from 3 to 5 p.m.

After that it is Transit Authority, a Chicago tribute band, playing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The band High & Mighty wraps things up with a concert from 8 p.m. to midnight to close out JamFest.

To purchase tickets for the Friday night shows or to register for any JamFest events, go to


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