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Campers start party early: Lakes Jam main events to begin Thursday

Campers are ready for the Lakes Jam party to begin. About 50 recreational vehicles lined up Tuesday night, June 19, camping for the night--starting the party early--waiting for Lakes Jam to open the gates of Brainerd International Raceway, north ...

Sisters Deb Herron (left) and Angie Hart of the Brainerd lakes area Wednesday hold up signs they made -- “Bottom’s Up" and "Keep Calm and Bottom’s Up" -- at Lakes Jam. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch
Sisters Deb Herron (left) and Angie Hart of the Brainerd lakes area Wednesday hold up signs they made -- “Bottom’s Up" and "Keep Calm and Bottom’s Up" -- at Lakes Jam. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

Campers are ready for the Lakes Jam party to begin.

About 50 recreational vehicles lined up Tuesday night, June 19, camping for the night-starting the party early-waiting for Lakes Jam to open the gates of Brainerd International Raceway, north of Brainerd off Highway 371.

Come Wednesday morning, the sun was shining with temps getting close to 80 degrees. Lakes Jam organizers and volunteers opened the gates to campers, who paid for an extra day, at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Campers were busy mowing the grass for their spot, setting up their RVs and setting up their tables, bars and games to play, as they waited for the main stage events-which run Thursday through Saturday.

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the event. Organizers scheduled 14 bands for the main stage events-beginning 4 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday-with national and regional bands performing. Each day, a band will perform on the secondary stage between headliners.

Headlining Lakes Jam beginning at 10 p.m. are LOCASH on Thursday, Brantley Gilbert on Friday and George Thorogood & The Destroyers on Saturday.

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Music Wednesday night included Tail Gunners and The Devon Worley Band.

Marissa Fall of Motley and Dylan Beach of Staples were busy getting their campsite ready. This was Fall's sixth year attending Lakes Jam and Beach's first, as he said he had to work the previous years. They were with a group of 35 people from the Staples/Motley area.

"We call ourselves 'Camp Never Sober,'" Fall said. "We go to the (International) Eelpout Festival every year and we set up a big camp there. Everyone has names so we wanted to come up with a cool name to fit in here and this works.

"The best part of Lakes Jam is the camping and I like that there is a country night and a rock night."

The group arrived at BIR at 8 p.m. Tuesday to get in line.

"I'm excited to see Brantley Gilbert," Fall said.

The group plans to enter Lakes Jam "Bottom's Up" contest. Fall said she spent a week working on their decor for their campsite. The decor includes two large "Lakes Jam" signs painted on plywood and an arch that will serve as the entrance to their campsite.

Angela Hart of Baxter and her group of about 20 people from Brainerd, Baxter and a few from the Cities also plan to enter the contest and made signs: "Bottom's Up" and "Keep Calm and Bottom's Up."

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"We have been to Lakes Jam every single year," Hart said. "We enjoy the camaraderie and the music. We are disappointed that Chris Hawkey is not going to be here."

Hawkey has performed at Lakes Jam every year, except this year. Last year, Lakes Jam organizers surprised Hawkey during the music fest with a banner stating, "Lakes Jam is Hawk's House." This year, Hawkey is performing Friday at Moondance Jammin' Country Fest in Walker.

When asked why the group keeps coming back to Lakes Jam, Hart's friend said, "Why wouldn't you come back?" The group said they have a great time listening to music, visiting with people and playing games, which include yard darts, bocce ball and Jenga.

Monte Jensen of Grand Rapids was with a group of about 18 family and friends from the St. Cloud, Grand Rapids and Brainerd areas.

"This is the third year here," Jensen said. "We came here the first year with a different group and we've been to Moondance prior but switched to Lakes Jam. We like that there is so much to do like the car show, the motorcross, you can drive around and go visit people.

"It's all about the party, the music is a bonus. We like to say, 'Here's to the nights that turn into mornings with the friends that turn into family.' That is what we live by. That is why we are here.

Going around meeting people is the best part of Lakes Jam."

The group said they were looking forward to hearing LOCASH and George Thorogood & The Destroyers.

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Lakes Jam will open at 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available at the gate and online at www.lakesjam.com .

Marissa Fall of Motley and Dylan Beach of Staples carry homemade Lakes Jam signs to build their campsite entrance as they get their site ready for the Lakes Jam “Bottom’s Up” contest. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Marissa Fall of Motley and Dylan Beach of Staples carry homemade Lakes Jam signs to build their campsite entrance as they get their site ready for the Lakes Jam “Bottom’s Up” contest. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

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