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Instead of trying to make his frog hop, Ryan Peterson, 3, of Detroit Lakes, decided he'd hop like a frog during Saturday's frog hop and turtle races in City Park.
Instead of trying to make his frog hop, Ryan Peterson, 3, of Detroit Lakes, decided he'd hop like a frog during Saturday's frog hop and turtle races in City Park.

Water Carnival keeps 'em hopping

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

After ten days of games and contests, pageants and shows, concerts and music, food and athletics, all thrown together with camaraderie and community, Water Carnival saw its close on Sunday with the 74th Northwest Water Carnival Parade.

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Always a splashing wrap-up, the parade was blessed with gorgeous rays, warm weather and plenty of opportunities to cool down as the Jaycees rode along the crowded parade route with squirt guns in hand.

Water Carnival kicked off with the annual Miss Northwest Pageant, which watched as Lacey Erickson handed her crown over to Lexy Okeson. On Monday, 6-year-olds Austria Lachowitzer and Dyllan Borah became 2009's Junior Miss and Mister.

Other Water Carnival winners this year included the Jaycee women, the DL wrestlers, and the police department at Wednesday's water fights, as well as Brian Halstensgaard, who discovered the Admiral's hat beneath the bleachers at Snappy Park.

The bean bag tourney had 29 teams competing in a double elimination bracket this year. Awards went to the top eight places, and Craig Meyer's team won the championship round, which earned them passes to 10,000 Lakes Festival this week.

First place in the chili cookoff went to the duo behind D&D Black Bean Chili.

At the demo derby, fewer competitors than usual showed up to ignite their engines and accelerate their ramshackle vehicles into each other, but the excitement swelled at the end when two cars had to be twice separated as one repeatedly got stuck - right on top of the other.

The evening's winners were Darin Aagard, Dale Dillon and Sam Buck in compact cars; Curt Zacharias, Jedre Cyr and Tyson Sonnenberg in big cars; and Nate Westerberg, Cody Dahlen and Chris Johnson in big trucks.

This year's Water Carnival attendance, always enormous as Detroit Lakes becomes inflated with tourists for the summer months, didn't fail to disappoint. Jaycee Kelly Gag pointed out that visitors from Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Florida were present at events over the weekend.

"All of our guests commented on what a great time they had and that they can't believe how many activities we organize over the entire week of Water Carnival," Gag said, adding that some already anticipated coming back next summer. "It's great to be a part of something that the locals and visitors can enjoy."

2009 Jaycee President Johnna Thorson echoed Gag's sentiments, sending her thanks to all of the group's members, and especially to Dave and Melissa Opsahl, this year's co-admirals.

"I am proud to work with a group that pumps out 10 days of excitement and activity for our community and all of its visitors. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did," Thorson said.

The Opsahls, as well, finished their duties triumphantly.

"It was a ton of work, but worth it in the end for the benefit of the community and the tradition of Water Carnival," they said, mentioning that the cooler temperatures didn't deter either locals or out-of-towners from joining in with the festivities. "We cannot say enough thanks to all the sponsors of the Water Carnival and to the tremendous efforts shown by our organization. What a fantastic ride."

With every year growing in events, attendance, and overall excitement, next year's 75th Water Carnival -- certain to live up to its legacy with another enthralling string of activities -- will need more effort than ever before.

This year's dual-admiralship will give way to next summer's quadmirals. Water Carnival 2010 will be headed up by Chris and Johnna Thorson and Nathan and Jackie Weber, all of whom have served as Jaycee presidents in the past or at presents.

As you towel off from last week's dips, dives, cannonballs and laps around Water Carnival 2009, remember that next summer will bring another drenching that you won't want to miss.

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