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Parkfest is a hit, despite rain

Hardwood Groove performed for a packed Detroit Lakes Pavilion during Thursday night's Parkfest. See more photos from the event on page 11A.

Despite less than idyllic weather, Thursday's Parkfest celebration in Detroit Lakes was deemed a success by organizers.

"Considering the weather, I think it went really, really well," said Parkfest committee member Amy Stoller Stearns. "I was really pleased with the booths and the variety of people that were there."

"People stayed right to the end -- at 7 p.m. it was still busy," said fellow committee member Becky Mitchell. "People seemed to really enjoy being out visiting. The music was great and the booths had lots of traffic going through."

Mitchell is also the glass artist who coordinates the Mosaic Mania art outreach project that has been held in conjunction with Parkfest for the past three years.

The mosaic glass windows made by students from area schools are sold in a silent auction held during the annual community celebration. This year, 45 windows were available at the silent auction, and all of them sold.

"The average price (per window sold) was around $75-$125, the same as last year," Mitchell said, noting that she had not yet tallied the final amount of funds raised by the silent auction as of Friday morning.

Stearns said that half of the proceeds from the silent auction were returned to the school districts participating in the Mosaic Mania project for use in arts programming and supplies at the schools, which included Roosevelt, Rossman and Holy Rosary in Detroit Lakes as well as Lake Park-Audubon, Frazee-Vergas and Circle of Life School in White Earth.

The remainder of the funds will be used for arts programming at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, which sponsors the Mosaic Mania project.

Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Kris Tovson, who also worked with the Parkfest committee, said she felt it was "a positive event" overall.

"I was pleasantly surprised (by the crowds) when I got down there," she said. "I think the bands were great and everybody was having a good time -- it appeared from what I saw and heard that everybody stayed around awhile."

Committee member Josh Hochgraber -- who is also the newly elected chairman of the Chamber board of directors -- said that the vendors he talked to after the celebration had concluded said they had received "significant interest" from the attendees.

"Every one of the vendors I talked to said they planned on being back," he added.

"We got good support from both the Breakfast and Noon Rotary clubs and the Kiwanis, the Boy Scouts and the Key Club," Hochgraber continued. "Their support provided a lot of the staffing for taking care of everything."

About 500 people were served at the free community picnic, he added -- but not everyone who came to the celebration was there to eat, he added, so he thought the number of attendees was most likely a lot higher than that.

"With the weather and people's busy schedules we felt pretty good about the crowd that was there," he added. "We had a record number of booths and good overall interest in the celebration."

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