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Rivers & Lakes Fair Mission Statement:

The Rivers and Lakes Fair of Aitkin County, Minnesotaprovides information and education on natural resources, for children and adults, within a stimulating and enjoyable setting. 

The purpose of the fair is to: 

  • Bring individuals and resource specialists together; 
  • Create a respect and concern for our natural resources
  • Promote stewardship through wise management of natural resources.

The Rivers and Lakes Fair began in 1997 when the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Aitkin County, identified the need to expand the understanding of water quality impacts. There was a clear need for residents and visitors to better understand water quality issues. The foundation of the fair was the Shoreland Research and Revegetation Project.

A planning committee consists of the University of Minnesota Extension Service Aitkin County, Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District, Minnesota DNR, Aitkin County Environmental Services Office, county lake associations, and citizen volunteers.

FUNDING: Local foundations and trusts, civic organizations and groups, lakeshore associations, and a variety of local, state, and federal agencies support the fair. Expenses have ranged from $2,000 to $5,000 and vary mainly with the cost of presentations. 

VOLUNTEERS: Dedicated residents from throughout the county, representing lake associations, civic groups, and sportsmen’s clubs assist with running the fair.

PRESENTATIONS: Featured presentations have included birds of Aitkin County, an area historian, and statewide attractions such as the Raptor Center, Loons by the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Great Lakes Aquarium, and International Wolf Center.

EXHIBITS: A wide variety of local, state, and federal agencies along with lake associations and watershed groups provide informational booths.

Attendance at the Rivers and Lakes Fair has grown to over 600 persons of all ages. Evaluations indicate that a great majority would attend the fair again. The fair consistently receives excellent ratings for educational content and family activities.

Information about the 2016 Rivers & Lake Fair.