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Capital for a day -- May 14 is DL's day to shine

Late last year, Minnesota residents had the opportunity, and the duty, to elect a capital for a day in each of the five biomes throughout the state.

After being nominated by Tourism Director Cleone Stewart, Chamber President Dave Hochhalter and resident Mary Beth Gilsdorf, Detroit Lakes area residents were encouraged to go to the state's sesquicentennial Web site to vote for the city. They did, and the city took honors for the deciduous zone, getting more votes than bigger cities like St. Cloud and Bloomington.

"I remember hearing about it and thought we'd never out do the bigger cities. I was surprised, but pleasantly surprised," organizer Dale Westley said.

Mayor Larry Buboltz appointed a committee of Westley, Cris Valdez and Amy Stearns to head the plans for Detroit Lakes' Capital for a Day on May 14. Those involved have been gathering for the last couple months to plan the perfect activities to showcase the town.

"It's been a ton of fun," Stearns said of the massive project. "The coming together of 30-40 people is really neat. It's a whole variety of people, agencies, schools and organizations."

The other cities voted Capital for a Day include Bemidji, May 12; Thief River Falls, May 13; New Ulm, May 15, and Winona, May 16. Each city is also given a month throughout the year to celebrate and showcase their city as well. Detroit Lakes is July.

Events in Detroit Lakes begin with Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau making a stop at the Historic Holmes Theatre and continue throughout the day until a closing community picnic that afternoon and evening. Gov. Pawlenty was scheduled to come, but had a change in plans.

The in between items are everything from ribbon cutting at a new rain garden, old movies from the 1920s-1960s, middle school celebrity impersonators, cake and coffee, kids fishing and the dedication of the sailboat sculpture.

At 8:58 a.m. and p.m., bells will ring throughout the city, announcing capital for a day. Why 8:58? Because Minnesota was founded in 1858, of course.

From 1 to 7 p.m. in the Pavilion, there will be booths and interactive exhibits set up. The environmental exhibits include the Scenic Byway, Festival of Birds (which kicks off the next day), Tamarac National Wildlife refuge, Pelican River watershed District and more. Cliff Oftelie will also have his collection of antiques on display.

At the same time, the Lakes Area Farmers Market, celebrating its 10th year, will be set up outside the Pavilion for those interested in fresh, local goods.

If you're looking for noise, the Hoot and Toot is from 4 to 5 p.m. in the City Park/Pavilion area. Any and every piece of equipment that can make noise -- squad cars, snowplows, ambulances, fire trucks, etc. -- will be on display for kids to see, and of course hear. Anyone interested in having their equipment on display can contact Jacobs by May 6 at 846-3609.

From 4 to 6 p.m., the Pavilion will also host a "Capital Cash" giveaway. Although not cash, participants will be able to spin a wheel to win prizes from area business. Any businesses interested in donating items can contact the Chamber at 847-9202.

From 4 to 7 p.m., J&K Marina is giving free pontoon rides every half hour as well.

"All activities are open to the public and free of charge. What a great way to spend the day," Jacobs said.

"We'd like to extend an invitation to surrounding areas," Westley added, saying everyone is welcome to come celebrate the day in Detroit Lakes.

Westley said he got involved with the Capital for a Day project because "you could just tell it was going to be good," he said.

Jacobs agreed that everyone involved is so enthusiastic.

With organizers packing May 14 with activities, they also decided the day just wasn't big enough and are throwing a Capital for a Day Dance Tuesday night from 8 to midnight at the Soo Pass Ranch. Carmen the Cactus will perform, and there is no cover charge.

"I'd like to see families come out and have fun. It's for the young and old," Westley said of the activities throughout the day.

"It's a great way to celebrate our community and get people involved. There's something for all ages," Jacobs agreed.

The committee is also offering commemorative postcards and the Postal Service is offering a cancellation celebrating Capital for a Day.

"This is our opportunity to showcase Detroit Lakes," Jacobs said.

Stearns added that in the beginning, the mayor charged the committee to organize a "great, grand celebration" for the people of Detroit Lakes. So many times events are hosted for other people, but this is truly for those citizens of Detroit Lakes.

For more information on the festivities, call the Chamber at 847-9209 or visit

Tuesday, May 13

8 p.m. to midnight. Capital for a Day dance at the Soo Pass Ranch. No cover charge. Dance to Carmen the Cactus.

Wednesday, May 14

7:30-8:30 a.m. -- Coffee with the lieutenant governor at the Historic Holmes Theatre. Open to the public, come have coffee and hear remarks from Lt Gov. Carol Molnau.

8:30 a.m. -- Rain garden ribbon cutting to kick off Festival of Birds. Located in the City Park, near the Pavilion.

8:58 a.m. -- Bells ring to announce Detroit Lakes as Capital for a Day.

9 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Becker County History Museum open.

11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. -- "Detroit Lakes through the Eyes of L.G. Pratt" Old movies from the 1920s-1960s show in the Washington Square Mall in the former Curves location.

Noon-1 p.m. -- Plan for Our Future meeting at the Soo Pass Ranch

1-2:30 p.m. -- Detroit Lakes Middle School 6th grade presents "Famous Minnesotans" in the Washington Square Mall.

1-1:30 p.m. -- Tree planting by area students at the Kent Freeman Sports Arena.

1-7 p.m. -- Environmental and interactive exhibits in the Pavilion.

1-7 p.m. -- Farmers Market in the Pavilion area.

1:30-2:30 p.m. -- Holy Rosary School presents "Assignment Earth: What Kids can do to Save the Planet" in the Pavilion.

2:30 p.m. -- 150th birthday cake and coffee in the Pavilion.

4-5 p.m. -- Hoot and Toot in the City Park/Pavilion area.

4-6 p.m. -- Capital Cash free giveaway in the Pavilion.

4-6 p.m. -- Kids fishing from the city fishing pier.

4-6 p.m. -- Horse and wagon rides at the Pavilion.

5-5:30 p.m. -- City presentation and dedication of sailboat sculpture at the Pavilion. It will include the presentation of colors and flag raising by the Lake Region Veteran Color Guard, national anthem, opening remarks from Mayor Larry Buboltz, honorary speaker State Auditor Rebecca Otto, sailboat dedication, closing remarks from Buboltz and retirement of the colors.

5:30-7 p.m. -- Community picnic with music by Doc & The Scrubs in the Pavilion