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Ideas wanted: How to celebrate 'Capital for a Day'?

DETROIT LAKES -- Got an idea for the Capital for a Day celebration in Detroit Lakes but don't know how to get involved? All you have to do is show up to the meetings or contact co-facilitator Amy Stearns to get involved with the festivities.

More people and groups are needed to help make the Capital for a Day celebration a fun event for the surrounding community, so take "Minnesota Nice" to a new level and join one of the groups planning events for the day.

The planning group for the sesquicentennial events met Tuesday at City Hall to discuss the events for May 14 in Detroit Lakes.

Stearns went over a rough draft of the day's activities and she and the other co-facilitators, Cris Valdez and Dale Westley of Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Detroit Lakes, shared additional ideas they gleaned from a conference call with other Capital for a Day cities.

Stearns said the city council approved a budget of up to $5,000 for the day, with the expectation of having a free community picnic. Dan Olson of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the MPCA might be able to contribute to the event budget from the budget for its 40th anniversary events.

Stearns said the community picnic committee also needs to ask community service groups and businesses to donate food or money for the event, as well as help coordinate the picnic.

A tentative schedule of events includes ringing the bells at all the churches in Detroit Lakes at 8 a.m. to start the day. A tour of greater Detroit Lakes, including Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and area attractions would run from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

The sesquicentennial commission would have a media lunch at Soo Pass Ranch from 11:30 to 1 p.m., followed by a "Plan for Our Future" town hall meeting at Soo Pass Ranch or the DL Pavilion from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

In the afternoon, there is a proposed tour of the city, as well as exhibits at the pavilion and possible school interaction.

Brad Green of the Public Works Department said his department is looking at planting some trees in the city park that day, as well as constructing a rain garden. Olson said the MPCA might be able to help with the rain garden project by donating some native seeds to the project. Green said students from the school could become involved in the tree planting project by having a classroom sponsor a tree.

Becky Mitchell of the Holmes Theatre said she has approached some area schools about doing simple mosaic glass windows for display and possible silent auction at the DL Pavilion during the afternoon exhibits. The schools have been receptive to the idea and Mitchell said it sounded like she would be working with students in grades three to six.

Jeff Leighton of KDLM and Wild 104.1 suggested creating a short DVD on the area to play on a loop at the pavilion during the exhibition. Doug Froke of Detroit Lakes Public School suggested inviting the state's first lady to the day's events.

From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., there is a "Hoot and Toot" in the City Park. Stearns said the event involves getting area fire trucks, ambulances, and vehicles with horns and sirens at the park for children to sit in and honk horns or set off sirens. Bob Merritt of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said he would look into getting a guest appearance by Smoky the Bear for the event.

Stearns said Bill Stech of MSCTC is working on having an American Indian Pipe Ceremony at 5 p.m., followed by a speech by Mayor Larry Buboltz. At 5:15 p.m., Terri Lynne Nelson is working on the sailboat dedication at the pavilion.

City administrator Bob Louiseau will work to contact the National Guard for a flyover at 5:30 p.m., during the beginning of the community picnic. The planning group is also working on finding some musical entertainment, such as Doc and the Scrubs, for the community picnic.

Dave Larson of FACE Inc., is working on the media lunch. He also proposed holding a dance with a live band either Tuesday night, before the day's events, or after the community picnic on Wednesday. Larson said it would be a good event on Tuesday night to welcome the sesquicentennial commission to the area.

The planning committee is working on spreading the word to get people involved in these and other activities to make the Detroit Lakes area shine during its Capital for a Day celebration. Stearns said if anyone wants to get involved, they should come to the meetings.

The next meeting is at 3 p.m. March 4 at City Hall. Can't make it to the meeting but still want to be involved? Contact Amy Stearns at 844-7469 or shoot her an email at