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E. coli forces milk carton boat race onto land

Several beaches at Bde Maka Ska have been closed due to high bacteria levels.

A beautiful Sunday at Bde Maka Ska is good timing for the Milk Carton Boat Race.

Only this time it was on land.

"Something out of the ordinary," said Cassandra Avery.

The annual event is normally on the water at Thomas Beach using milk carton boats. This year the event turned into a portage race.

"It's a nice thing to see in the water. Too bad it isn't this year," said Kirk Johnson.

For more than three weeks now high bacteria levels have kept two beaches at Bde Maka Ska closed to swimming. Just this past week, North Beach closed as well.

Organizers of the boat race had no other beaches available throughout the city.

"We just thought well, we got these lemons, lets make lemonade. We'll do a portage race so people can carry boats down our little race track here to the finish line,"
said Charlie Casserly, Executive Director of Twin Cities Beach Blast.

He says he just tried to make the best of the situation.

"That is the message. If something bad happens, can still pick yourself up, dust yourself off and have an event," said Casserly. "Have a little competition.

Even if it is on land, it was still a great day to be outside along the lake.

As for E. coli concerns, Minneapolis Park and Rec Board leaders plan to test the water early this week.