Growing up my dad worked for the City of Albert Lea. On hot summer days he would come home and say, “Let’s go to the beach.” My two sisters and I would race around the house putting our swimsuits on and finding our beach towels. Piling into our family van, we were off to enjoy the city beach together. Back then (in the 80’s) the beach sported a large, metal, water slide and a floating wooden dock.
I remember the fear of climbing up the slippery steps (anyone else remember this same fear?) reaching the top, taking a deep breathe and waiting for the drop in my stomach I knew would come from the fast drop of going down the slide.
Growing up I don’t think I fully comprehended the geography that gave Albert Lea it’s name, the “Land Between Lakes”, I simply knew it as home. Yet, in my young mind I knew our lakes were a gem in our community.
Fountain Lake is located in the heart of downtown Albert Lea. It is home to the Bayside skiers, a show water ski team made up of community members of all ages. The ski team has been around since the mid 70’s and continues to perform weekly shows throughout the summer. They also compete in the Midwest Regional Tournament and the Division 2 National Tournament. You can catch their shows Thursday nights at 7pm near the Edgewater Park Pavilion. It’s a great way to relax with family and friends at the end of a long summer day.
The Brookside Boathouse is a welcome new addition to our community. It offers adventure for the whole family. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding, to name a few of the items offered.
I have watched the fireworks in Albert Lea overlooking Fountain Lake since I was a kid. Before the fireworks kicked off, it was tradition for my family to arrive early at Fountain Lake Park. My dad would park at Morin Park and we would then make the trek to the North Broadway parking lot and Fountain Lake Park. We would purchase Merle’s popcorn or the Kiwanis’ kettle corn, pick the perfect seat in the park, and munch on popcorn while we listened to the local community band play patriotic songs. As soon as 10pm hit or dusk (whichever came first) we became mesmerized as the fireworks started. Now as an adult my husband and I get the pleasure of carrying on this same tradition with our kids.
Fishing is another fond memory I have. We would fish along the shores of Fountain lake or sit in my dad’s blue fishing boat not far off of the shore of Edgewater Park, near where the Bayside Skiers perform. The lake is great for pulling out bass, northerns, crappies, bluegill and- if you let your line drag on the bottom, like my sisters and I would- an occasional snapping turtle.
Fountain lake has always been a popular spot to walk, run, bike, or rollerblade. Whether on land or in the water, our lakes hold special memories for those who have lived in our community. Please share your memories and pictures in the comments.
To those who have never experienced our lakes, Albert Lea invites you to come experience all of the adventures our lakes have to offer. See you on the lake shore!