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Michelle Turnberg, Published August 11 2012

Turnberg: WE Fest chance to see friends, make friends

I don’t remember a time when I have laughed so hard or enjoyed the company of so many good friends at the same time.

We came from around the region and spent four spectacular days together at the lake, laughing, dancing, singing and being goofy. We traded in our business suits, doctors’ scrubs, stock quotes, grad school books and firemen’s hoses for cowboy boots and hats.

We were WE Fest.

If you’ve never been to the country music festival at Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, Minn., you may not know what’s it’s all about. It gets a bad (or good) rap for being just one big party. And it is, but I can truthfully say I have met some of the most interesting people there completely by chance.

Like the couple from Leek Lake that found our lost cellphone and went out of their way to make sure we got it back the next day. We met the South Dakota boys, “Bo and Luke,” who grew up together and started a conversation with us because of a North Dakota National Guard cap. We saw old friends we haven’t seen in years and new ones sure to become old ones.

Should you go next year, you’ll see crazy outfits, outlandish campsites and people always smiling and ready to strike up conversation. You’ll find college kids camping in tents and those who have been around a while living it up in beautiful RVs. You can get the cheap seats or be so close to the music you may be hit with Toby Keith’s sweat. The whole event is a well-oiled machine. Every employee we encountered was pleasant and helpful, even though I imagine their days are long and they must see just about everything.

One of the best parts for me is reconnecting with my college friends that time, kids and marriages pulled away. Now that we’re older, we recognize quality people and are drawn back together. Perhaps even better are the new friends those old friends have brought into my life. And, while it may take some time over the years to figure it out, when you surround yourself with people who make you feel good, laugh and lift you up, you finally understand what a good friend is.

Here’s to spending time with the greatest group of friends a girl could have, to laughs and to good people.

Here’s to Livin’ the Dream in 2013!

Michelle Turnberg writes a weekly column for SheSays. She can be reached at michelleturnberg@gmail.com.