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Lake City gets MPR Concert Truck Thursday

August 2, 2018

LAKE CITY — Some people will insist that Lake Pepin is just a wide spot in the Mississippi River.

But that didn’t prevent Lake Pepin from finishing in the final four of Minnesota Public Radio’s Most-Loved Lakes competition earlier this year. In a land of 10,000-plus lakes, making the top four is a big deal, said Michelle Larson, executive director of the Lake City Chamber of Commerce.

“Obviously, we are all fond of our lake here,” Larson said.

Lake Superior won the contest, but Lake Pepin and adjacent Lake City will enjoy a consolation prize Thursday when MPR’s Concert Truck pulls into town.

The Concert Truck will be parked at the Lake City Farmers Market for a free hour-long concert that starts at 6 p.m. The market itself, which is held every Thursday, runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Concert Truck looks like a run-of-the-mill moving van. But one side of the truck slides open to reveal a baby grand piano. The Concert Truck was launched in 2016 by pianists Susan Zhang and Nick Luby.

The idea, of course, is to take classical music on the road, even on a smaller scale.

In addition to Lake City, the Music Truck this week has also visited Excelsior and Bemidji. The grand finale is Saturday on the shores of Lake Superior in Silver Bay, Two Harbors and Duluth.

“This is a buildup to the Duluth event,” said Kelly Reller, of Minnesota Public Radio. Naturally, the winner is going to get all the attention.

But being a bridesmaid, so to speak, pays dividends for Lake City and Lake Pepin, which for a day at least receives the attention of MPR’s statewide audience — and a free concert.

“It really has received a lot of awareness for our lake,” Larson said of the contest. The vote also stirred interest in conservation, she said. “It made people pay attention to why we really need to preserve these lakes for the future.”

Now, about that wide-spot-in-the-Mississippi claim: “That is hotly debated, as we learned,” Reller said.

“Lake Superior really is not a lake, either,” said Larson. “It’s a sea.”

So there.

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