Cambridge gears up for ‘Fire on the Rum’ music festival

fr_CambridgeCambridge is gearing up for the inaugural ‘Fire on the Rum’ outdoor music festival.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Monday, April 1, Cambridge Fire Chief Sean Okerlund updated the council on its plans for the June 15 festival to be held at the Isanti County Fairgrounds in Cambridge.

Okerlund explained the all-ages event will feature some of Central Minnesota’s top country and rock musical acts. There will be camping sites available, food and retail vendors, children’s activities, security and medical staff on site. All proceeds will benefit the Cambridge Fire Relief Association.

The bands performing at ‘Fire on the Rum’ include Lost Highway, Hitchville, Whiskey Tango, The Devon Worley Band, Mystery Mountain Boys and Vulkan.

Tickets are $20 if purchased by June 1; after June 1 they will cost $30. Tickets can be purchased online at or at Cambridge City Hall, Northbound Liquor in Cambridge or at the Cambridge Bar & Grill.

Okerlund said there is really an emphasis on business sponsorships and several business packages are available with different cost options.

“There is really a push right now for business sponsorships,” Okerlund said. “But so far, when visiting with different businesses, the reception we are getting is overwhelming and people are excited for this event. We are trying to get the word out more about this inaugural event.”

Okerlund said more food vendors are signing up that include Green Mill, Whole-E Smokes, Tom Thumb Mini Donuts, an ice cream business and a pulled pork sandwich business. He mentioned he’s looking for businesses that sell cheese curds and snow cones.

When questioned by the council, Okerlund said there will be plenty of security and law enforcement officers patrolling the grounds. He said parking is planned for approximately 2,800 vehicles.

Okerlund mentioned there will also be a karaoke contest sponsored by Coca-Cola in conjunction with Fire on the Rum.

The Cambridge Bar & Grill and Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar in St. Louis Park will each hold contests up until the June 15 event.

The winners from each location will sing between Whiskey Tango and Hitchville with the grand prize winner performing between Hitchville and Lost Highway. The grand prize winner will receive a $250 cash prize donated by Coca-Cola.

For more information on Fire on the Rum, visit

Healthy City Initiative

Council Member Howard “Howie” Lewis approached the council about a healthy city initiative after learning about a health community initiative through Allina Hospitals.

He explained the initiative could include “Walking the Town,” and presented the council on information regarding six different walking paths in the city of Cambridge.

“The idea is to get people walking,” Lewis said. “Obviously walking is good for your health, but it also could lead to reduced health care costs.”

Lewis said the city already has signs up throughout the community that display different walking paths.

“Walking paths in Cambridge are a real positive for the city,” Lewis said. “I think we should look at comp time for those who participate in this.”

Following discussion, the council approved a motion to allow for 30 minutes of compensation time for each city employee that completes all six of the walking paths. The employees would self-report when the walks are completed and would be required to complete the walks with other employees.

The council is only allowing the employees one 30-minute comp time allowance at this time, but will consider revisiting the item again at a later date.

Financing Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion

Director of Finance Caroline Moe explained as approved by the City Council at its March 18 meeting, the city is starting a major remodeling and enhancement project for its Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Bids for the project will be opened on April 22 and brought to council for approval on May 6. The current cost estimate of the project is $14,514,700, of which the city has $542,000 in cash in a wastewater infrastructure replacement account that was required to be set aside under the old loan used to construct the Wastewater Treatment Plant initially.

The city also expects to receive $500,000 in grant funds for the program from the state under the Phosphorus Reduction Grant program. The preliminary amount of the project the city believes it will need to finance is $13,472,700. Actual financing will be determined once bids are received.

Following discussion, the council approved a resolution to apply for a Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PF) Loan for the financing of improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Moe explained the PFA is indicating that under its current programs it can offer the city an approximate rate of 1 percent financing for 20 years.

Moe said it does come with the requirement that the city will not be able to refinance the debt for at least 12 years; however, due to the low rate already, she is comfortable with the requirement.