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PIONEER VIEWPOINTS: Have a splash at Water Carnival

As Nate Mathews also mentions on this page, summer is a busy time in Bemidji this year. There's multiple road construction projects underway, as well as new residential and commercial building throughout the city.

And one of the busiest events of the summer takes place this week—the annual Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival, which returns on Thursday at two locations.

Thanks go out to the Jaycees, volunteers all, for their countless hours in planning and preparing this event that many people in the region look forward to each year.

"It's really exciting for me because I grew up going to the event myself. I always looked forward to it," Water Carnival chair Nicole McKinnon told the Pioneer last week. "I know how much the community looks forward to it, so it's really exciting to be a part of it."

Initially, the Jaycees had planned to bring the Water Carnival (held the past two years at the Sanford Center parking lot) back to downtown, along Fourth Street from America Avenue to Bemidji Avenue. The reason the Water Carnival was moved to the Sanford Center in the first place was construction to the waterfront parks—and now they'd be moving to accommodate construction near the Sanford Center. But when several downtown businesses raised concerns, mostly about parking, the Jaycees went to Plan B, which includes utilizing both the waterfront area and the Sanford Center parking lot.

So, this year will have a new look and feel to the Water Carnival, but that doesn't mean it has to be any less fun. Organizers have done their best to set up a schedule that includes events at both sites, both for children and adults, spreading out fun activities throughout the day.

The Bemidji area community should come out and support the endeavor by attending events at both sites, culminating with the big fireworks show at dusk on Tuesday, July 4, Independence Day.

And keep an open mind about having the event at both sites. We know there will be detractors, and there's always some who seemingly want to complain about anything. Constructive criticism is fine, and we are sure the Jaycees will welcome any input you have that could improve the experience for all, but let's also remember these are volunteers who truly do care about our community. If we don't support events such as these, interest can wane and then, before you know it, no more event.

So, have fun and be safe. You can check out the Jaycees Water Carnival Schedule each day in the Pioneer and you can also visit for more information.

One more thing, a reminder of sorts. The next big community-wide event on our radar is the annual Beltrami County Relay for Life, scheduled for Saturday, July 8, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Sanford Center. To date, the local Relay for Life has raised $33,000 of its $100,000 goal. For more information about this important community event, please visit: