Ottertail’s Music in the Park series, presented by Ottertail Business and Community Association (OTBCA), has been approved to go forward and the show starts June 23 with a performance by Elvis Presley impersonator Todd Anderson.
The concerts will take place in Ottertail City Park and OTBCA will be marking the grass with painted dots to indicate where attendees can set up in order to maintain 6 feet of social distance. There will also be a parking lot across the street where people can stay in their cars to watch the concert. “Todd Anderson said he’s going to try to bring an FM tuner, he’s not sure that he’s got one, and that allows you to tune in on a radio frequency and you can actually listen to his music from your car,” OTBCA president Ron Grobeck said.
This is the third year OTBCA is hosting Todd Anderson and in previous years crowds as large as 400 have come to see him. With social distancing, only about 175 people will be able to fit in the park to see him, along with about 20-30 cars in the front row of the parking lot.
In previous years, local businesses helped pitch in to sponsor the event and pay for the bands, with money raised from selling concessions going toward scholarships for local students. This year, with local businesses affected by the shutdown due to the pandemic, OTBCA did not ask for funding. Instead, they’ll be dipping into their savings and asking the community for donations. “We’re just going to do donations, if they want to come up and just make a donation,” Grobeck says. “We’re going to pay for the bands out of some existing funds that we have, but we’ll have a donation jar if people want to contribute, but they don’t have to, they can just come and listen. It’s a free concert, they can bring a lawn chair.”
Concessions this year will be a little different, too, as the health department is only allowing the sale of prewrapped food. “Normally we do hot dogs and popcorn but with the virus we can’t do that, so we will have some prepackaged things, probably some confectionery type stuff, and then usually we have bottled water and pop,” Grobeck says.
There are five events planned as part of Music in the Park, including Chris Frost Band on July 14, Blue English Band on July 28, Gina Powers Band on Aug. 4 and Flashbacks on Aug. 25. All shows run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except for Flashbacks which runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. “We’ve got such a good lineup this year, too, with Todd Anderson, we’re bringing in Blue English, that’s a rock ‘n’ roll band from Fargo, we’re bringing in a group called the Gina Powers Band out of Fargo, fantastic, a little bit of country,” Grobeck says. “We’re going to do Otterfest Aug. 8 in a modified form, too.”
Otterfest will feature The Rockin’ 60s with Steve Worner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.