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Polar fest! Time to party

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS, Pat Petermann, director of the DL Boys and Girls Club, talks to the Kiwanis Club about the upcoming Polar Plunge.1 / 2
Residents of Winchester on Washington volunteered to fill 2,000 gift bags for this Saturday's Poles 'N Holes fishing derby in Detroit Lakes.2 / 2

With warm weather forecast for this weekend, the Polar Fest celebration looks to be off to a balmy start.

Polar Fest has been a part of the Detroit Lakes February calendar for 15 years now, there are plenty of new things to see and do at the 2011 celebration of all things winter -- starting with its kickoff event.

This year's Polar Fest officially gets underway Saturday, Feb. 12, with the inaugural "Poles 'N Holes" Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Morning Rotary Club.

A group of volunteers at Winchester on Washington were busily stuffing gift bags for fishing derby participants Monday afternoon.

Morning Rotary member Sue Braun, who organized the effort, said that by the time they were finished, the senior volunteers would have stuffed a total of 2,000 bags.

"Every person who registers for the derby gets a bag," said Braun, noting that yes, the club is hoping to get at least 2,000 participants for the big event.

What makes these gift bags so special, she added, is that the contents are "all local" -- meaning that they were donated by area companies and organizations including Eessentia Health St. Mary's, Sanford Health, Papa Murphy's, Zorbaz and the Bait Shop in Detroit Lakes, and Kenny's Candy and Barrel O'Fun in Perham.

"It's been a real community effort," Braun said.

Fishing will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on the north side of Little Detroit Lake, off Washington Avenue near the Pavilion.

According to Terry Haus, a member of the Polar Fest planning committee, one of the advantages of taking part in the Poles 'N Holes Derby is that "the holes are already drilled for you!"

Registration will be open on the day of the event, starting at 9 a.m., but you can also sign up online at Cost is $35 per person.

Unfortunately, planning for another unique Polar Fest event has not gone nearly as smoothly.

The outdoor hockey game scheduled to take place between Detroit Lakes High School and Morris Area on Saturday at the new People's Park Rink has been moved indoors.

According to organizers, the rink was deemed not ready to host a high school hockey game, so the event was moved across the street from People's Park, to Kent Freeman Arena.

There will be some hockey played at People's Park on Saturday, however: Youth hockey players will take to the ice at 10 a.m.

Also taking place on Polar Fest's opening weekend will be the Vern Turner Memorial Bonspiel at Lakes Curling Club, which starts Friday, Feb. 11 and continues through Sunday.

Sunday's main event will be the Miss Polar Fest Pageant, which will crown both a new Miss Polar Fest and Miss Teen Polar Fest to reign over the rest of the 2011 festivities.

Competitors for the title of Miss Teen Polar Fest include:

• Alexandria Bigger, 14, daughter of Barry and Amanda Bigger, Frazee;

• AnnaRose Steger, 12, daughter of Bob and Barb Steger, Detroit Lakes;

• Emily Anderson, 12, daughter of Ben and Kay Anderson, Frazee;

• Lexa Anderson, 13, daughter of Sheila Welle and Rhys Anderson, Detroit Lakes.

Miss Polar Fest contestants include:

• Annie Erickson, 17, daughter of Donna Lefebvre and Jamie Erickson, Waubun;

• Taylor DeLair, 16, daughter of David and Sherry DeLair, Detroit Lakes;

• Johanna Grimsley, 16, daughter of Barbara Schiller and Dale Grimsley, Detroit Lakes;

• Clair Schiller, 16, daughter of Mike and Jackie Schiller, Detroit Lakes.

• Ashley West, 17, daughter of Jamie Kortgard and Michael Walker, Waubun.

The pageant begins at 6:30 p.m. on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre.

The Polar Fest fun continues next week as well.

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, there will be a Boo Lover's Tea at the Detroit Lakes Library at 2 p.m.; a "Polariffic" Spaghetti dinner hosted by the DL Noon Rotary Club in the M State dining room from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and a reading of selections from the "Polar Pete Poetry" contest at 7 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Library.

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, there will be Turkey Bowling at the Eessentia Health St. Mary's parking lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and the "Splash for Cash" at Washington Square Mall, starting at noon.

Thursday, Feb. 17 events include the Chamber Chill Business Expo at Washington Square Mall, 5 to 7 p.m.; and a presentation by polar explorer Lonnie Dupre at the Historic Holmes Theatre at 7 p.m., hosted by the Lake Agassiz Regional Library System.

On Friday, Feb. 18, there is the Ice Tee Golf Tournament starting at 1 p.m. on Little Detroit Lake and the Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Historic Holmes Theatre; and an Italian wine tasting and jazz concert at the Lodge on Lake Detroit.

The wine tasting starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Live at the Lodge concert at 7 p.m., featuring the music of jazz quartet Christine Roshold, Dave Jensen, Max Johnk and Nick Fryer.

Saturday, Feb. 19 will be Polar Fest's most jam-packed day.

The Freeze Your Buns 5K Run gets underway at 9 a.m. in front of the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center.

The United Lake Trail Riders Association will host a Snowmobile Show from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by an afternoon ride; Lakeside Tavern will host a Party in the Tavern from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then there's the granddaddy of them all, the 15th annual Polar Plunge, "starting at 1 p.m. sharp!" according to Pat Petermann of the Boys & Girls Club, which hosts the event as one of its major fundraisers.

During the Polar Plunge, the DL Jaycees will host a "Plunge-Side Party," with beverages both hot and cold as well as hot dogs and hamburgers served.

M State College and the Lakes Area Parrotheads join forces to host the first-ever Tailgating on the Lake event at 6 p.m., across the street from Zorbaz on Little Detroit Lake.

A winter fireworks display will light up the sky over the Detroit Lakes City Beach starting at 7 p.m., and the Parrot Heads will host a "Welcome to Polaritaville" Dance at Zorbaz following the fireworks.

On Sunday, Feb. 20, the festivities come to a close, starting with an open house at the Becker County Historical Society Museum from 1 to 3 p.m., featuring a new exhibit, "Stone to Steel: the History of the Fur Trade in Becker County," as well as coffee and cookies.

There will be cross country skiing at the Mountainview Recreation Area from 1 to 4 p.m.; a "Zumba in the Zand" free exercise class from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Zorbaz; and another Live at the Lodge concert featuring Matt Velline at the Lodge on Lake Detroit, from 7 to 10 p.m.

A complete Polar Fest schedule is available at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce website, (click on the Polar Pete logo).

There will also be Polar Fest 2011 commemorative memorabilia, including pins, hats, scarves and more, on sale at most Polar Fest events. For more information, call the Chamber at 218-847-9202.

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