The public is invited to celebrate Sibley State Park’s centennial year June 8 with entertainment and family-friendly activities all day. The park is located near the west-central city of New London in Kandiyohi County.
“We are really excited to celebrate the park’s centennial year with our guests,” said Sibley State Park naturalist Kelsey Olson. “We invite everyone to come celebrate with us for a very enjoyable day.”
The celebration will start at 9 a.m. with a voyageur canoe paddle on Lake Andrew with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. The voyageur canoes hold 18 people and provide a unique paddling experience for visitors.
Visitors will enjoy the scenic shoreline of Lake Andrew and hear stories of what life was like for fur traders. Later that morning, a game of “kitten ball” (a form of baseball) will be played on the beach of Lake Andrew, followed by root beer floats for participants and spectators.
Como Beach, on the western end of the lake, was a popular social gathering spot during the 1930s and even hosted a kitten ball team that would play ball on what is today the park.
“This early form of baseball was a popular pastime in the area,” Olson said. “During the Dust Bowl years, the team actually played kitten ball on dried portions of the lake bed there. We’ll be playing on a field that was created by the Veteran’s Conservation Corps.”
The afternoon will include family-friendly activities such as nature themed yard games, fish painting, paper making, and special guests from the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Afternoon entertainment will be provided by African folk musician Siama Matuzungidi and his band. Matuzungidi plays traditional African instruments during his concerts and shares his happy music with children.
The day culminates at 3 p.m. when Sibley State Park Happy Birthday treats will be served.
Special guests DNR Assistant Commissioner Shannon Lotthammer and Parks and Trails Division Director Erika Rivers will be attending the celebration.
The celebration is free to the public, and as part of National Get Outdoors Day, vehicle permit fees also are waived for that day. Additional centennial celebration events will be held several times each month, including live music on the shores of Lake Andrew scheduled for June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24.
A full calendar of events is available on the park’s Web page dedicated to its 100 year celebration. Designated as a state park on April 23, 1919, Sibley State Park is a popular destination. The 3,400-acre park hosts more than 40,000 overnight stays and 300,000 visitors each year.
More information about Sibley State Park can be found at mndnr.gov/sibley.
– Photo courtesy of Devon Bowker