United Way celebration draws charitable crowd
Despite the wind and rain that blanketed Detroit Lakes early Thursday morning, the United Way of Becker County was able to pull off a successful Community Celebration that evening at the DL Pavilion.
"The rains stopped, the winds aren't as strong -- and the people are smiling," said LuAnn Porter, executive director of the United Way of Becker County, at the start of the event. "Someone's taking care of us up there."
"We were more concerned that we couldn't do the outdoor stuff (inflatable games) with the kids than anything else," said Ramona Arnold, who co-chaired the 2007 celebration with Kari Williams.
"With a little praying, and some luck, we came through," she added.
The Thursday event was the culmination of about two months of planning, Williams added.
"We have the pi?atas, indoor and outdoor kids' games, live entertainment, food, face painting, 'wacky hair,' and the Friends of Youth bike safety program," Williams said, listing some of the day's activities.
The bike safety program included free helmets for the first 35 kids through the door, and a prize drawing for four free bicycles.
Entertainment included DL singer/songwriter -- and police officer -- Tim Eggebraaten; the North Star Cloggers, recently returned from a performance at the Minnesota State Fair; performers from the local Minnesota Flyers gymnastics squad; and even a barbershop quartet.
"It's awesome," said Michelle Bjorgan, vice president of the American Cancer Society-Becker County Chapter, which was one of the 30 local agencies sponsored by the United Way that had informational booths set up during the event.
"I think it's a great community event, and it gets us (American Cancer Society) out there more in the public eye with the different things we do for the community," she added.
Becker County Coordinator on Aging Judy Peterson, whose program is also supported by the United Way, said she thought the intergenerational aspect of the event was what made it so successful.
"People young and old are all here celebrating together," she said. "The intergenerational setting is so beneficial -- a real win-win for everybody."
Detroit Lakes Boys and Girls Club director Pat Petermann agreed, noting, "It's got something for everyone. We brought 30 kids here from the club, and they're having a blast."
Petermann also noted that he was grateful for the opportunity to let the community know how much the United Way does for the Boys and Girls Club.
"If it weren't for them, we wouldn't be able to do half of what we do," he said.