Find a monster, win a prize!

That's the spirit of the first Pepie Lake Monster Festival in Lake City, Minn., a family event on May 24 that revolves around the city's most famous rumored resident, Pepie.

The mysterious something, glimpsed since French explorers first happened upon Lake Pepin, could be an immense fish, a misshapen log, or something never before seen. But there's a $50,000 reward for anyone who can provide incontrovertible proof that Pepie does, in fact, exist.

Despite the festivities being described as "the world's largest lake monster hunt," many citizens regard whatever may or not may be trolling the lake with affection. Hence, Pepie instead of Pepzilla.

Activities will include:

• Guided shoreline walking tours with Chad Lewis, an expert on the supernatural who's written about Pepie, to points where something has been sighted over the years (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.).

• Boat cruises on the Pearl of the Lake paddle-wheeler to past sighting locations (noon, 2, 6 and 8 p.m.).

• A history presentation at 1 p.m. covering native legends and modern-day sightings.

• A 4 p.m. cruise to Haunted Maiden Rock, where legend holds that the trapped spirit of a young American Indian girl remains where she met her grisly end.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with live music, food and other activities. There is a charge for the boat tours (

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