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Last drew good crowds to downtown Detroit Lakes. The 12th annual event takes place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 1, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Street Faire at the Lakes returns: DL's 12th annual 'kickoff to summer' set June 1-2

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For 12 years now, the Street Faire at the Lakes has served as the summer's official kickoff event for Detroit Lakes residents -- and the event is only becoming more popular each year, among visitors and vendors alike.

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"We have 135 booths -- that's a little bit more than last year," said organizer Mary Beth Gilsdorf, who has been involved with the event since its inception in 2001.

Even the Street Faire's "rain or shine" policy hasn't deterred shoppers from patronizing the variety of vendor booths that line the streets of downtown Detroit Lakes each year on the first weekend in June (this year's event runs June 1-2).

"Lots of people do come out in the rain and shop," said Gilsdorf, noting that they simply don rain gear (sometimes improvised out of plastic trash bags) and keep on going, looking for that elusive bargain.

"You can get all your Christmas shopping done," joked Amy Stoller Stearns, executive director of the Historic Holmes Theatre, which is presenting the Street Faire this year.

Stearns wasn't entirely joking, however; vendor wares at this year's fair include everything from unique, handcrafted jewelry and clothing items to metal sculptures, pottery and photography.

"You name it, the Street Faire's got it," said Holmes Theatre Marketing Director Viva Klundt, who is also part of the planning committee this year.

Gilsdorf said there is a Fargo exhibitor at the Street Faire this year, Roxie's Place Photography, that specializes in producing images of regional landmarks and points of interest.

Becky Mitchell of the Glass Lady Studio in Lake Park is bringing some of her glass jewelry and artwork, and other familiar faces will include local artists David Norstad and Mary Laabs, and Jake's Syrups out of Vergas.

All artisans exhibiting at the faire are carefully selected through a jury process, to ensure both quality and diversity in the items offered for sale.

"It's the first juried art show of the season," Klundt said.

And there's a great entertainment lineup this year, Stearns added, kicking off with returning favorites Island Time at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 1, and continuing throughout both days of the event.

Twin Cities artists Patchouli -- who have been a part of the Faire every year -- return for a 1:30 p.m. show on Friday, and they will be followed by this year's "happy hour" entertainers, Detroit Lakes' own classic rockers The Fat Cats at 4 p.m.

The Eagles Club will be offering bingo from 5:30 p.m. until the Faire closes at 8 p.m. -- and then they will start setting up for the annual street dance, which gets underway at 9 p.m. with live music by local favorites Billy D & the Crystals.

"It's the only actual street dance held in Detroit Lakes," Gilsdorf pointed out.

The Street Faire resumes on Saturday, June 2, with Fargo-Moorhead jazz musician Sarah Morrau kicking off the day's live entertainment at 10 a.m.

Up-and-coming local band Hardwood Groove will take the stage at noon, and they will be followed by Lehto & Wright's Celtic-themed set at 2:30 p.m.

The Street Faire's own "wandering minstrel," string musician Paul Imholte, will also be entertaining crowds throughout both days of the event.

"But the Street Faire is not just about great entertainment, and great art -- it's also about the food!" exclaimed Stearns.

Food vendors at this year's event will include returning favorites such as Oof-Da Tacos, gyros, frozen Italian ices, fresh-cut French fries and pulled pork sandwiches, as well as a couple of new offerings this year, Gilsdorf said.

"We have Michelle's Scandinavian Kitchen," she said, which is pretty much like the name sounds -- although there are a few surprises on the menu.

And then there is Hanson's, which offers standard "fair food" such as smoked turkey legs and corn on the cob -- dipped in butter, of course.

"There's deep fried pickles, fresh lemonade, kettle corn, gyros and grilled pork chops," Klundt said.

Fried bananas in chocolate sauce are also on the menu -- in short, there's something sure to tempt even the most jaded taste buds this year.

Of course, the Eagles' beer garden will also be open throughout both days of the Street Faire, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

And there's even some fun for the kiddies, with barrel train rides and the Wonder Weavers offering free face painting, arts and crafts throughout the weekend.

One new event this year takes place on Friday, June 1: The "Valley News Live" news team from Fargo will be on hand for a special "meet and greet" at the corner of Holmes Street and Washington Avenue from noon to 2 p.m.

"We'll be giving away cookies and balloons," Gilsdorf said, adding that the food vendors would also be set up by then, so it's a good time to "come eat, meet and greet" the crew from KVLY.

The Street Faire at the Lakes is sponsored by the City of Detroit Lakes, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities, Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Detroit Lakes Disposal, Eagles Aerie 2342 of Detroit Lakes, Ben Franklin Crafts, Arvig, Bremer, Ulteig, SJE Rhombus, MidStates Wireless, Lakeshirts, Hough Inc. and the Historic Holmes Theatre.

For more information, please call the Historic Holmes Theatre at 218-844-7469. A complete schedule of events can also be found at the Street Faire's website, www.dlstreetfaire.com.

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

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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