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Theme for May16 Parkfest is volunteerism

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Milestone No. 1 this spring has been reached: the snow is finally gone. It’s time to celebrate. Mark your calendars for a free picnic in the park on May 16.                          

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And, in the spirit of giving, this year’s Parkfest centers on volunteerism.

“We are going to have 30 different booths inside the Pavilion, each of them focusing on their volunteer opportunities,” organizer and chamber president Carrie Johnston said.

Everyone who comes to Parkfest, which is May 16 from 4-7 p.m. in the Pavilion and City Park, will receive a list of each event participant and what volunteer opportunities are available through their non-profit or event and their contact information.

“We’re hoping it sparks some ideas and conversations with people that are looking for an opportunity to get involved in the community and give them lots of options,” Johnston said.

The 30 booths that will fill the Pavilion showcase a variety of organizations in need of volunteers, from health care to books, environment to children, trails to service organizations.

“It’s definitely a good cross section of the region,” she said.

Each year the Parkfest committee likes to pick a theme for the event. This year, volunteerism just seemed to be at the forefront of many things going on around Detroit Lakes.

“It just seemed like this year there was a lot going on with Tamarac doing their renovation, the museum has some new traveling exhibits and volunteering opportunities, the library is turning 100 years, so it just seemed like it was a perfect fit for this year,” Johnston said.

New this year at Parkfest is blowup games for the kids.

“And of course there will be the picnic, outdoor games, paddleboarding, Let’s Go Fishing will have their big pontoon there, Doc and the Scrubs will be performing at 6 p.m. and the mosaics,” organizer Amy Stearns said, lissting as some of the events that will be available that afternoon for the public to participate in.

There is no charge for admission, and all of the activities are free of charge.

Of course the paddleboarding and pontooning are subject to the ice being off Detroit Lake by then.

Besides the Mosaic Mania works being on display, artwork from the Art Masters program will also be on display in the Pavilion.

“Art Masters is a program at Rossman and Roosevelt (elementary schools) where the kids study six different ‘masters’ of art like Picasso or anyone like that," Stearns said.

"So they will have some of their work on display too."

Although this year it’s the Kiwanis Club’s turn to serve the food (they take turns with Rotary), Kiwanis, Noon Rotary, Breakfast Rotary, the city of Detroit Lakes and the Detroit Lakes Public School District share in the cost of the food and the preparation of it.

Parkfest began six years ago during the Sesquicentennial of Minnesota and Detroit Lakes was chosen as Capital for a Day.

A party was thrown for the entire city as a way to celebrate.

“The mayor at the time was Larry Buboltz and he said that we had such a great experience, he said ‘we should do that again next year,'" Stearns said.

"And then Matt Brenk became the mayor and he said, ‘yeah, let’s just keep doing it.’

“It’s a great way to celebrate that summer is coming and thank you to the community. It’s really for the citizens as kind of a welcome kick-off of summer type of thing,” she added.

And regardless of the weather, Parkfest will happen.

“Rain or shine the booths will be in the Pavilion," Johnston said.

"We don’t know about the outdoor games and some of the other stuff, but no matter what we still have Parkfest even if it has to be in the Pavilion," she added.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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