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Sonshine living: Bathing, sleep and food can take a backseat to the music

WILLMAR -- The Sonshine Festival offers an escape for many people. From work, from the house, from the daily routine. But, somethings are necessary, like food, sleep and bathing. Right? Well, Sonshiners exhibit various opinions on the matter. Dep...

WILLMAR -- The Sonshine Festival offers an escape for many people. From work, from the house, from the daily routine.

But, somethings are necessary, like food, sleep and bathing. Right? Well, Sonshiners exhibit various opinions on the matter.

Depending on a Sonshiner's band schedule, their socializing and nap time, bathing is often the first element of "normal living" that gets compromised in the festival atmosphere.

Sam Gable, 16, of Andover fit the part of a cowboy as he walked around with his friend Chris Kantorowicz, 17, of Coon Rapids. He smelled like one, too.

"No, I put my head under the spigot," laughed Gable, when asked if he showered during the festival. The boys did admit to making runs to local beaches.

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Not surprisingly, girls had a different take.

"We shower everyday -- sometimes twice," said Catherine McDonald, 17, of Ham Lake. She and friend Emily Syverson, 17, of Blaine appeared to have done more than rolled out of bed, with straightened hair and a touch of makeup.

Showers are available for men in the Civic Center and for women in the High School. Swimming suits are required in the mass shower areas, described as the "cattle showers" by security guard Ben Reutter, 18, of Ogden, Iowa.

With bands playing all day and activities running through the night, meals are often hard to come by.

The Nelson family of Willow River, however, said they went out to Godfather's Pizza on Wednesday night and that they try to eat on a regular schedule.

But, without a mom or dad around, Marcus Olson, 17, of Outing and Sage Ugstad, 16, of Remer said they rarely get a full meal in.

"I don't eat lunch," Ugstad said, adding that they've brought their own food to snack on back in their tents. The only meal she makes sure to get is a bowl of cereal in the morning.

"It's Puffs something," she said, trying to remember the cereal's brand.

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Sleep seems to be just another detail in the Sonshine world. "Depends," is a common response from campers.

"When it's cool you try to take naps, but when it's hot, you're up and out of the tent," McDonald said.

Clothing is another area of concern that the festival goers take into account when coming to Sonshine. Fashion is often chucked in favor of comfort.

Scrubs, tank-tops and flip-flops are popular choices with campers.

"You sweat a lot and so you have to bring a lot of clothes," said Jessie Rea, 13, of Bloomington.

While dressing for comfort, campers also have to be concerned with the hot sun. Many campers said they pack sunscreen.

"I have fair skin so I have to apply it (sunscreen) every couple of hours," Reutter said. Fellow security guard Matt Anderson, 26, of Rochester said he doesn't mind the tan, however. He puts it on once a day.

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