Minneapolis lake monster gets a name

After a summer spent traveling between two Minneapolis lakes, a popular and mysterious Loch Ness monster sculpture finally has an official name -- Minne.

The 13-foot-tall public work of art first appeared in Lake Harriet in early July, and was later moved to Lake of the Isles.

Minneapolis Parks Foundation officials announced the results of the naming competition on Monday. Minne, pronounced "Minnie," is the Dakota word for water.

"Minne is such a perfect nickname for the lake creature," said Cecily Hines, president of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. "We expect, as her adventures develop, the name will resonate with everyone in Minneapolis and become even more endearing over time as she moves from lake to lake every year."

Local artist Cameron Gainer created the sculpture based on the iconic "Surgeon's Photo," taken in Scotland's Loch Ness in 1934. Enthusiasts cite the murky photo as proof of the monster's existence.

Gainer initially gave the sculpture the decidedly unpronounceable name of _]. As the foundation press release put it, the creature was "in need of a simpler moniker."

Minne originally lived in New York in the Salt Marsh Nature Preserve in Brooklyn, as part of the city's 40th Anniversary of Art in the Parks program. After a brief stint in a small botanical garden in Tampa, the creature made its way to Minneapolis.

A website allows Minne fans to chronicle their encounters. One woman posted a photo of her husband expressing surprise while kayaking toward the creature.

"September 13th was a beautiful Minnesota day," the woman wrote. "My husband, Don, and I thought it would be a perfect day to kayak on the Chain of Lakes. We were going to take a break and have lunch in Lake of the Isles when we were taken by surprise. I'm not sure where Minnie came from, but as you can see, I no longer have a husband. Clearly, she's not a vegetarian."

Several contest participants submitted the name. They will each receive a professional photo of the creature signed by Gainer.

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