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New Year's Eve on Ice

Things will be heating up in the Ice House soon, as the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes is gearing up for its first ever New Year's Eve on Ice event.

Opening their doors to the general public, hotel staff is busy planning a weekend packed full of family fun for New Year's.

But do not forget hats and mittens, because event organizers are tapping into one of their greatest natural resources, which sits right at their back door.

"We have a lot of ice being on the lake," said the hotel's general manager, Jeff Jasperson, "and so a lot of what we're going to do will center around that."

Big Detroit will be taking on a little extra shine that weekend, as staff will be literally "lighting up the lake."

"We'll auger 10-inch fishing holes down into the ice, but stop before it gets to the water," said Jasperson, "and then we'll have lanterns that we'll place in there to light up the ice."

Two professional artists will also be there, slowly transforming a four by six foot block of pure, clear ice (that is being specially trucked in) into a work of art.

The ice sculpture artists estimate the project will take them eight to 10 hours, as they saw, iron and grind a large "2012" New Year's sculpture.

Adults and kids are encouraged to bring their skates, as there will also be some smooth, shaved ice for ice-skating.

"Since New Year's falls on the weekend, we really want people to come out with their kids and the whole family," said Jasperson. "We're going to pack as many events in there as possible."

Although a lack of snow will likely put a bit of a damper on the snowman building contest, complimentary horse-drawn sleigh rides will be available, as well as a fire pit for roasting s'mores and hot dogs, and movie nights for the children.

"We'll have a couple of Christmas movies playing on our big screen television in our activity room," said Jasperson. "We'll be doing that both Friday and Saturday night for the kids."

Adults will be celebrating New York style, as the hotel will be decorated in true New York fashion.

"We're hoping to gather the New York skyline back drop from M State that they have, and we'll do some silhouette cutouts," said Jasperson.

"So, if people really want to do it up with black and white tuxes and top hats, great, otherwise we'll have some party favors for everyone, and we're just going to have a good time with it."

Live music will also be provided by Fargo-Moorhead band Skyline.

But what's a New York New Year's Eve celebration without some balls dropping?

"Throughout the building, the monitors will all be showing the balls dropping across the timeline in the different cities," said Jasperson.

But when midnight rolls around in Detroit Lakes, guests at this event will see the real thing.

The Holiday Inn will hold its first ever official ball dropping when the clock strikes 12, dropping the seven foot structure right in front of the Holiday Beach Bar and Grill.

"It'll be fully lit with what they call matrix lighting, and it's going to be dropped from the rooftop, being suspended right in front of the windows," said Jasperson.

Partygoers will also toast to the New Year with a complimentary glass of champagne.

"You know, it's something to do here in Detroit Lakes besides watch it all happen on television," said Jasperson.

"And, if this proves to be a popular event, we'll build on it for next year with fireworks, too."

Shuttles will be running between local hotels for an easy and safe holiday shuffle.

Spanky's Stone Hearth near Vergas will also be ringing in the New Year with fireworks by Starr Fireworks at midnight, and Speak Easy in Detroit Lakes will be hosting its 6th annual Giggle Water Gala on New Years Eve.