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Prime Polar festivities postponed

Photographer Joe Rossi will be speaking at the DL Library on March 2. He was supposed to appear Monday but his presentation was canceled due to the snow. Submitted Photo1 / 2
Joe Rossi's book 'Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet' features letters made from nature, like this letter 'A.' Rossi will be in Detroit Lakes on March 2 to discuss his photography. He was scheduled to speak Monday, but because of the snowfall, the event was canceled. A couple other events that were supposed to be held Sunday and Monday have also been rescheduled. Photo courtesy of Joe Rossi2 / 2

Polar Fest 2013 got off to a pretty seamless start on Friday and Saturday, with the Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance, Hidden History Hour, Poles & Holes Fishing Derby and Big Detroit 100 snowmobile races all taking place as scheduled.

But organizers of Sunday's and Monday's events were not so lucky, as an impressive winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in and around Detroit Lakes.

The inaugural Winter Mini Golf Masters & Bean Bag Tourney at BJ's Barbecue Shack; the Chocolate Chill Valentine's shopping and chocolate sampling event set for Monday at Washington Square Mall; and a presentation by nature and sports photographer Joe Rossi at the Detroit Lakes Public Library on Monday night were all nixed due to the inhospitable conditions.

But organizers of all three events have either rescheduled, or are making plans to do so.

BJ's Barbecue Shack simply moved its mini-golf tournament back one week.

"We are playing this Sunday (Feb. 17) at 1 p.m.," said BJ's assistant manager Beverly Lusty.

Joe Rossi's appearance at the Detroit Lakes Public Library has also been rescheduled; it is now set to take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, said Lake Agassiz Regional Library public services supervisor Deb Wahl, who is the library's representative on the Polar Fest committee.

"I just got in touch with him today," Wahl said. "We're going to be hosting (his presentation) in conjunction with the first-ever Lakes Area Photography Show, which is set to take place Feb. 25-March 2 at the Washington Square Mall in Detroit Lakes."

Rossi's presentation, which is set to take place in the library's main meeting room, will be the culmination of four hours of photo seminars set to take place at the mall earlier that day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We're just changing our focus (for the presentation) a little," Wahl said. "We thought it would fit in quite well with their show."

A new date for the Chocolate Chill has not yet been set, but plans should be finalized shortly.

"We would hopefully like to reschedule the Chocolate Chill for some time in March," said Jean Erickson of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, which was the sponsor for the inaugural event.

She said committee members would be meeting later this week to determine when the Chocolate Chill might take place.

Other Polar Fest events scheduled to take place this week should run as scheduled -- weather permitting, noted Sue Trnka, who co-chairs this year's festival along with Amy Degerstrom.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so Polar Fest organizers have scheduled a special "Sweetheart Wine Tasting" at the Holiday Inn, and many local restaurants are offering romance-friendly specials as well.

Friday's events include the popular Ice Tee Golf Tournament, set to begin promptly at noon on the ice of Little Detroit Lake across from Zorbaz, which will also host a noon lunch for participants.

That evening, the Best Western Premier Lodge on Lake Detroit will offer a special "Live at the Lodge" concert from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring the music of pianist Ed Huttlin. The concert is free to attend, and there will be a cash bar and appetizers available for purchase.

Saturday is Polar Fest's biggest day, with more than a dozen events scheduled at various locations around town.

The festival's signature event, the Polar Fest Plunge, starts at 1 p.m. on Little Detroit Lake.

But there are plenty of things happening earlier in the day as well. From 7 to 10:30 a.m., there will be a Polar Pancake and French Toast Feed at the DL Pavilion, and from 8 to 11 a.m., the ULTRA Snowmobile Club will host its 10th annual Vintage Rally and Swap Meet on the City Beach.

The Freeze Your Buns 5K Run/Walk gets underway at 9 a.m. in front of the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, and there will be a Plunge Party at the Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If that's not enough, there will be kick sled demonstrations near the Pavilion on Little Detroit Lake from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the 3rd annual Man & Machine Ice Motorcycle Race & Stunt Exhibition takes place on Big Detroit Lake in front of the Holiday Inn, starting at 12:15 p.m.

The evening festivities get underway at 6 p.m. with a Tailgating Party on the Lake across from Zorbaz. The Winter Fireworks Display starts at 7 p.m. on the City Beach, and the Welcome to Polaritaville Dance begins at 9 p.m. inside Zorbaz, featuring the music of Carmen the Cactus.

Last but not least, the final day of Polar Fest on Sunday, Feb. 17 will include a Wine Chiller Tasting and Dinner at the Best Western Premier Lodge on the Lake at 5:30 p.m., followed by live music from 7 to 10 p.m.

A complete schedule is available for download at the Polar Fest website,

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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