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Chocolate and history freaks rejoice

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes, 56501
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Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

It's time to embrace and celebrate winter.

OK, if you're not overly excited about embracing it, maybe there's something new this year during Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest you'd rather embrace -- like chocolate.

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The 10-day event, Feb. 8-17, is just around the bend, new events are added each year, and this year is no exception.

New events for this year include Hidden History Happy Hour at the Becker County Museum on Feb. 8, Chocolate Chill on Feb. 11, photographer Joe Rossi speaking on Feb. 11, and mini golf and a bean bag tourney at BJ's Barbecue Shack on Feb. 10.

Then, of course, there are the standard activities that people look forward to each year -- the Polar Plunge, the Freeze Your Buns Run, the Ice Tee Golf Tourney, a winter fireworks display and much more. There are nearly 30 events planned for this year.

And to ensure people hit multiple events, the Polar Fest committee has created a Polar Fest Passport.

"We want to encourage people to attend more than one or two events, and realize there are lots of events, so that's the basis of it," Chamber Director Carrie Johnston said.

At each event, there will be an explorer code on a large poster -- no hidden people or locations to search for -- and people are asked to write the code down on their passport, bring their passport back to the Washington Square Mall or send it to the Polar Fest Committee and have a chance at a prize package.

"It's one night stay at The Lodge and then a whole bunch of other gift certificates from around town," Johnston said of the prize package.

One of those events you may want to attend -- and collect your stamp at -- is the Chocolate Chill on Feb. 11 in the Washington Square Mall.

The Chamber's Promotions and Events Committee is sponsoring the event, and bringing in local chocolate vendors.

"From 4 to 6 (p.m.), people can purchase a $5 sample box and that's their ticket to be able to go around and sample and talk to the vendors and try lots of chocolate," she said.

Sweetie's Fudge, Becker Candy Store and Enchanting Events are some of the vendors that will be featuring samples.

"They are caterers and fudge makers and people who love chocolate," she said with a laugh.

That day, there will also be other "sweet deals" around town at other businesses.

Johnston said the Polar Fest committee - which is comprised of community volunteers - is always looking for new events and partners. If someone suggests an event, it's theirs to organize and oversee.

For a list of all Polar Fest activities, visit the Chamber of Commerce website at www.visitdetroitlakes.com.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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