Manitou means "spirit" in the Dakota language, according to the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. To learn more about the Legend of White Bear Lake, visit the City of White Bear Lake or the White Bear Area Historical Society.
In 1967 the White Bear Chamber of Commerce started Manitou Days, a tradition that has carried on for more than four decades. Since the beginning the annual festival served to bring the community together. Events were planned in the downtown area as well as the White Bear Shopping Center, on the lake itself, at Memorial and Ramsey County Beaches and the area schools.
Over the years the festival enthusiasm ebbed and flowed while sponsors and volunteers were difficult to find. In 2005 the Chamber chose to retain the Grande Parade activities but relinquish the events to a committee of volunteers. That group of volunteers returned the festival to a ten day event in June, reviving past events like the Community Pool Party at the YMCA, an Art Fair at the White Bear Shopping Center, Tours of the Fillebrown House as well as adding a few new ones including a Disc Golf Tournament at Lakewood Hills Park and a Class A Sailing Regatta on the lake.