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Dakota Electric Association had a total of 6,511 people attend the company’s 19th annual Member Appreciation Event at the Minnesota Zoo on July 28. During the event, zoo admission was free to all Dakota Electric members and their families

As part of the event, Dakota Electric, a member-owned cooperative, asked attendees to bring food donations for area food shelves, and visitors donated 2,395 pounds of food along with $910 in cash. The cash donations were the second largest amount collected since Dakota Electric began collecting donations.

“The generosity of those who attended the event will help a lot of people living in this area,” President and CEO Greg Miller said. “Dakota Electric is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, so this member-only event is our way of showing our appreciation to our members.”

Since Dakota Electric began collecting food at the event, Dakota Electric’s members have donated more than 15 tons of food and nearly $11,000 to go to local food shelves.

At the Member Appreciation Event at the zoo, cooperative members enjoyed the Hawaiian Monk Seals, bears at Russia’s Grizzly Coast, gray wolves and other animals on the Minnesota Trail, the Tiger Lair, World of Birds Show and more. Dakota Electric members were also entertained with music by the Blue Ox Jazz Babies and close-up magic performed by Bob Miller. LED Lucy, Dakota Electric’s mascot was on hand for added fun for the children, and many people enjoyed discounted tickets to the IMAX. Members can see photographs from the event on the company’s Facebook page.

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 104,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, serves its member-owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.