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Luminating downtown

Christmas carolers and Mr. and Mrs. Claus help make sleigh rides through downtown Detroit Lakes fun and festive during the Luminate the Lakes event. This year’s celebration is Nov. 14 and kicks off the annual Light Up the Lakes celebration. Brian Basham/DL NEWSPAPERS

Daylight savings is behind us, the temperature is dropping and a few snowflakes are starting to fly through the air.

Nobody can stop this. They can, however, get in the mood for it.

The Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Promotion and Events Committee will, for the second year, be holding a Luminate the Lakes event on Thursday, Nov. 14.

“Our plan is to have candlelit luminaries placed around downtown, focusing a lot on the area down by the library this year,” said Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce President Carrie Johnston, who says the intent is to connect the event with a significant happening in the community.

Last year Luminate the Lakes was in conjunction with the opening of the new Lakes Liquor store; this year, it is the library’s centennial celebration.

“We really want to create that holiday spirit with the luminaries and music and some events that we hope will bring people downtown,” said Johnston, who says the luminaries will be placed around the sidewalks by 5 p.m. while Christmas carolers from the Detroit Lakes High School will be walking around spreading their holiday cheer to downtown shoppers.

“I know last year they did ugly Christmas sweaters and had a blast, so I’m sure they’ll do something festive,” said Johnston.           

Inside the library, there will also be hot apple cider and holiday treats, as well as a book signing and reading by local children’s book author Jackie Jenson. Her reading begins at 5:30 p.m.

“So that’s a good chance to stop in and warm up,” said Johnston, “and then there will also be extended shopping hours at various stores, too, so it’s a great way to start thinking about your holiday shopping and what you can buy locally.”

Santa will also be roaming the streets of downtown, ho-ho-ho-ing and getting all of the little girls and boys (and their parents) in the holiday spirit.

“And we’ll also have horse drawn sleigh rides starting at the west end of the mall,” said Johnston, who says the rides are free. “So people can hop on, and it’ll take them downtown and to the library. People can really just get off and on during the stops.”

Luminate the Lakes is the kickoff event to Light Up the Lakes, which is a string of holiday events that begins with this event and goes through the holidays.

“So after Thanksgiving we’ll have the holiday parade, the free kids’ movie, the sleigh rides…it’s all a way to keep the hometown shopping alive and festive during the holiday season,” said Johnston, who says Luminate the Lakes is a perfect way to kick it off, as it provides a peaceful atmosphere of candlelight and music.

For more information on the event, as well as upcoming events for Light Up the Lakes, log on to or call the chamber at 847-9202.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466