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Teaching assistant Jenny Savig reads to her son, Derrik, and Annika Erickson at Kids First Preschool at First Lutheran Church in DL. Photo by - Paula Quam

Imagination Library is going strong

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News Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501 http://www.dl-online.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/5/0305/12-21-imaginationlib-1.jpg?itok=CBLNDZbM
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Imagination Library is going strong
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Since Dolly Parton's Imagination Library came rolling into Detroit Lakes right around Christmastime last year, many young kids around the area have been getting little surprises just for them in the mailbox -- their very own books.

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Now, the organization that made the free program possible locally is holding its first fundraiser to keep the Imagination Library going full steam ahead for its growing list of pint-sized participants.

The Holy Rosary Mom's Group, which sponsors the program in the Detroit Lakes area, is holding a Fall Fiesta.

The event is Saturday, Oct. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rossman Elementary.

"It's really an event to not only raise funds but also raise community awareness," said Amy Erickson, who spearheaded the movement to bring the worldwide reading program to the 56501 zip code.

The fiesta, which is free and open to the public, is for kids of all ages.

There will be a variety of fun activities set up for party-goers, including piñatas, face painting, balloon animals and free games.

"That way nobody has to feel like they can't afford it, so they can't come," said Erickson, adding that Imagination Library is designed to put books in the hands of kids, no matter what their parent's income level.

There are no stipulations, no money exchanged -- any parent with a child between the ages of birth to 5 years can sign up for their child to receive a free book in the mail once a month, specially addressed to that child.

"We hear these stories all the time that when kids get their book in the mail, it just makes their day -- it's their very own," said Erickson.

But although the books arrive at no cost to families, there is a cost to the program -- about $27 per child, per year. The Fall Fiesta will help fund Imagination Library for the 200 Detroit Lakes area children who are now registered.

The event itself is free, but there will be ways to help the non-profit organization.

T-shirts will be sold at the fiesta for $30 each.

"Which doesn't just give you a t-shirt, but it will actually make you a sponsor of one child for the year," said Erickson.

There will also be a bake sale to raise funds.

"So we're looking for bake sale donations," said Erickson, who asks that each cookie or bar being donated be individually wrapped for sale.

There will also be music, a costume contest (no scary costumes) and tacos in a bag.

"And then we're also having local celebrities come in to be guest readers," said Erickson. "So they'll be in the library reading to the kids."

Detroit Lakes Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten, Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon, Mayor Matt Brenk, former NFL player and state senatorial candidate Phil Hansen and many more will be on hand to read.

Erickson says members of the community who have heard about Imagination Library often get excited about it and offer to help keep it going, but as public awareness continues to increase, so will the obligation to raise more funds.

"Right now with our 200 children, it will cost us about $5,000 a year for books," said Erickson. "But if we were to reach all the children in this area (between the ages of 0 to 5), then that would go up to $15,000."

For more information on the program, to donate or to sign up for the books, log on to www.imaginationlibrarydl.org. Also visit Detroit Lakes' Facebook page at facebook.com/detroitlakesimaginationlibrary.

To donate time or resources to the Fall Fiesta, call Amy Erickson at 218-841-2944 or email info@imaginationlibrarydl.org.

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