by Jennifer Stockinger/Brainerd Dispatch. Photo: Kelly Humphrey
Mother Nature may have delayed Lakes Jam Saturday during the showers and thunderstorms, but it did not stop it. Once people came in Mother Nature cooperated and the rain stayed away leaving the sun shining.
Attendance numbers at Lakes Jam were not available yet, but the event saw a record high number, with the most people Friday night when headliner Toby Keith performed. Fans filled the concert bowl area from front to back.
Several people, when asked during the country and the rock night, said Toby Keith was the one performer they were most excited to see.
Charlie Hockert of Sauk Center and his two sons—Steve Hockert of Moore, Okla., and David Hockert of San Antonio, Texas—and their uncle Harry Kerfeld of Freeport came walking out of the meet and greet Friday with Toby Keith with smiles. Steve Hockert said he is a member of the Toby Keith Country Fan Club and they all were excited to meet the artist.
They said they were only at Lakes Jam to see Toby Keith. Charlie Hockert said he likes Toby Keith because he sings patriotic songs; Kerfeld said he likes his beer drinking songs; and the Hockert brothers said he sings songs they can relate to and they like that he supports the military.
Before Toby Keith came on stage, Lakes Jam had a military salute tribute to 10 new enlistees of the military, who were sworn in on the Lakes Jam stage before they begin service in the Air Force. The music of "I'm Proud to be an American" was played and the crowd cheered.
Toby Keith also took photographs with the men and women in uniform during the meet and greet and while on stage he thanked all persons for their service, as well as supporting firefighters and law enforcement.
Dana Schiller, who lives north of Baxter, attended Lakes Jam all three days. He said he has now seen Toby Keith in three countries. He saw Toby Keith perform in Kosovo in 2004 and 2007 when he was deployed with the Minnesota National Army Guard; and in Kuwait in 2010; and now in the United States.
"It's awesome to see Toby Keith right in my backyard," Schiller said. "This is my first year coming to Lakes Jam and I am already trying to figure out how to do this next year."