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Party on, WE Fest

Michael Guerriero's 'Party Across America' includes Detroit Lakes own WE Fest

A little over two years ago, Michael Guerriero realized that he was about to be laid off from his job with a major pharmaceutical company.

So what did he decide to do? Write a book about the country's 101 greatest parties.

"I was able to use the severance pay to do the research for the book," said Guerriero (though he had already gathered some of the material from previous attendance at events included in the book).

"The idea just came from a love of traveling and a love of partying, and realizing that nobody had ever written a guidebook to the greatest parties in the country," he said in a telephone interview earlier this week.

By the end of 2007, he had a book deal, and a year later, Guerriero's idea finally came to fruition. Party Across America: 101 of the Greatest Festivals, Sporting Events and Celebrations in the U.S. hit the shelves of bookstores across the country in December 2008.

Detroit Lakes' own WE Fest made the cut -- the only Minnesota festival to do so in this edition, though Guerriero said he is considering a few others, such as the St. Paul Winter Carnival, for the sequel.

"In the two months that it's been out, the book has been so well received the publishing house has approached me about doing a second one," Guerriero said.

In the book, Guerriero describes WE Fest as "a vital artery in the Heart of America's social calendar."

"Whether you're a country music fanatic, or someone who just loves a party, this event makes for an unforgettable summertime experience," he wrote.

Guerriero speaks from experience, having been one of the 50,000 annual guests who attended the festival in 2005.

"I think WE Fest has an incredible, positive energy, and I think there's a real sense of community there," said Guerriero of his reasons for including the celebration in his book.

"Of course if you're a country music fan you're going to love the music, but the camaraderie among the partygoers was the highlight for me," he added.

Many of the festivals included in Party Across America are free or relatively inexpensive, Guerriero said.

"Even in tough economic times, you can go have a great time...just because it's a recession doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying yourself," he continued.

For more information about the book, visit

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454