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Polar Fest fun is just revving up

MOTORCYCLE RACES were part of the fun last weekend at Polar Fest. The celebration continues this week, including the Polar Plunge this weekend.3 / 3

Detroit Lakes' 15th annual Polar Fest celebration got off to a rousing start on Saturday.

Forty-degree temperatures brought out big crowds for the inaugural Poles 'N Holes Fishing Derby hosted by the DL Breakfast Rotary Club, which kicked off the winter festival.

The weather won't be quite as inviting for the remaining events on the festival schedule, as temperatures aren't slated to rise above the low to mid 20s this weekend.

A 50 percent chance of snow on Thursday night shouldn't hamper the events planned for that evening, the Chamber Chill Business Expo at Washington Square Mall or the presentation by polar explorer Lonnie Dupre at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

Friday's Ice Tee Golf Tournament could be frozen out by a "slight chance of snow," though other events planned that day, such as the Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance at the Holmes Theatre, and Live at the Lodge jazz concert at the Lodge on Lake Detroit, should be unaffected.

But sunny skies are in the forecast for the remainder of the weekend, so Polar Fest's signature events, the Freeze Your Buns Run and Polar Plunge, should take place as scheduled Saturday.

Also on tap for Saturday's festivities is a Youth Fishing Derby, hosted by the Lakes Area Chapter of the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association.

The hour-long event runs from 2 to 3 p.m., on Little Detroit Lake near the Rossman Avenue access.

Derby organizer John Knopf said the event has been going on for "at least 15 years," meaning that, like the Polar Plunge and Freeze Your Buns Run, it has been around since Polar Fest's beginnings.

Besides a trophy for the biggest fish -- given to winners in both the boys' and girls' divisions -- the derby also includes several drawings for prizes such as bicycles, fishing poles and other kid-friendly gear.

Best of all, the event is completely free for all area kids age 12 and under.

All you have to do is sign up, grab some bait (also provided free of charge), put it on the hook, "pick a hole and start fishing," Knopf said.

All children must be accompanied by an adult, however.

No augers are necessary; Darkhouse volunteers will cut the holes in the ice themselves, Knopf said.

Other events planned for Saturday include the ULTRA Snowmobile Show; Party at the Tavern and Plungeside Party; Tailgating on the Lake; Winter Fireworks Display; and Polaritaville Dance.

Sunday's activities will include an open house at the Becker County Historical Society Museum; cross country skiing at the Mountainview Recreational Area; "Zumba in the Zand" at Zorbaz Restaurant; and a second Live at the Lodge concert at the Lodge on Lake Detroit, featuring Matt Velline.

A complete schedule, including times and locations, is available at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce website,

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454