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Crowds venture out to state parks for Memorial Day

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Devil's lake

BARABOO (WKOW) -- Unlike 2020, some restrictions had been let up at Devil's Lake State Park.

Still, the north shore reached capacity Monday morning and the south shore was well on its way as well by the early afternoon.

"It feels amazing feels like being free," Roberto Valdez said.

He and his family were among the hundreds at the lake Monday, grilling out, enjoying the beach and celebrating the day off.

"Every year we just come over here and have fun, enjoying the barbecue and just getting away from normal life," Valdez said.

Every year except for last year when the pandemic forced them to skip the tradition.

Valdez still wears his mask despite his family being fully vaccinated.

"We're just trying to adjust to normality," he said. "It's kinda weird yet, you know the virus is something we have to take seriously and it's something that still isn't over yet."

While they had to take a break from the family traditions last year, many are here this Memorial Day to make up for lost time, and they see it as a stepping off point for the rest of the summer.

"Just more things being open and being able to spend time with family and friends without having to worry about what's open what's not open," Tracey Burnap said. "That freedom to be able to just say hey let's go here and go there without any issue."

Burnap also didn't travel for family traditions last year, and visited Devil's Lake for the first time Monday.

"We just needed a little getaway and we just thought over memorial day it'd be a good something to do," she said.

And as much as it was that break from real life, Valdez says next year will be even better.

"Just can't wait for this pandemic to be over with, we should all look forward to that, but at the same time we should all do our work, do our part," he said.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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