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Parkfest 6th annual event is Thursday in DL

The free community picnic is one of Parkfest’s most popular activities. This year’s event is set for Thursday. BRIAN BASHAM/RECORD

This late spring may make it seem like forever since Detroit Lakes area residents have had the chance to party in the park, but the event designed specifically for that is now upon us.

“It’s traditionally been a good thank you to the citizens of DL and a good way to kick off summer,” said Carrie Johnston, president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The 6th annual Parkfest, hosted by Mayor Matt Brenk and put on by different area organizations such as the Breakfast and Noon Rotaries and Kiwanis, kicks off at 4 p.m. at the City Park on Thursday, May 16.

“Parkfest actually sprung up six years ago when Minnesota was celebrating its 150th Sesquicentennial. DL was named one of the five or so cities that was a Sesquicentennial city,” said Amy Stearns, director of the Historic Holmes Theatre. “And so we had a big party down at the park to celebrate that, and the mayor at the time said, ‘This is just great, we should do this again,’ and so when Matt Brenk took over as mayor the following year he said, ‘That sure was nice, we should do that every year.’  So we do.”

Parkfest is free and open to the public.  Organizations will be set up throughout the park and in the pavilion showcasing different groups throughout the community that help make it thrive.

“There will be 35 different organizations there. The focus is on volunteerism, and so it’s a good time to come and take a look and get information about how to get involved in the community,” said Johnston.

Arvig will be hosting inflatable games in the park as well as the “Hoot and Toot.”

“This is where the big rigs, like the fire trucks, will be set up for the kids to climb in and they can go up in the cherry pickers…so the kids have just a great time,” said Stearns, who says some of those kids may also have some artwork on display for the event.

“Becky Mitchell has been working with kids from Rossman, Roosevelt and Holy Rosary schools on making mosaic windows, and so those will be there to be silent auctioned off,” said Stearns.

A free picnic provided by the Detroit Lakes School District, the mayor and other service organizations will begin at 5:15 that will include the quintessential picnic spread like hot dogs, chips, cookies and lemonade.

Doc and the Scrubs take the stage at 6 p.m., providing the musical ambiance to the outdoor gathering, which organizers are hoping stays outdoors.

“The weather is usually nice for this, but if it does rain, we’ll just take it all inside the pavilion,” said Stearns. “It’s just an easy, simple party and a great opportunity for people to come out and enjoy the weather and maybe learn more about the different groups and organizations in our community while kind of kicking off summer.”

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