Northwest Water Carnival
With four admirals and a surplus of activities, last year's 75th Northwest Water Carnival was an event worthy of the milestone it celebrated.
It follows that Aaron Lauinger -- the admiral of the 76th Carnival -- has big shoes to fill.
"The 75th definitely laid the foundation for what the Water Carnival should be," Lauinger said.
However, he is up to the challenge of improving upon the tremendously successful 2010 Carnival.
"This year we're really trying to get all demographics involved for this community celebration," noted Lauinger.
"We still have the potential to shut this town down for a week."
The Carnival will kick off with the Miss Northwest Pageant on Friday, July 8. The winner will represent the Northwest Region in the Miss Minnesota Pageant in June 2012.
The first Sunday of the Water Carnival, July 10, will feature a variety of "family-themed" activities. These will include: the Junior Pageant, a Frog Jump and Turtle Race, the Toddler Trot, face painting, and a Kids Music Show featuring Tim Eggebraaten.
"We're turning it into a family day," Lauinger said. "We're gonna offer all kinds of games for kids."
Sunday will conclude with "The Amazing Family Race," a new event to the 76th Water Carnival.
"Families in teams of four are going to compete in multiple challenges across the park to earn points," Lauinger explained. "The family with the most points will get a 1-year family membership to the Community Center.
Monday, July 11, will feature another new event: the Sweet Summer Night.
"The idea behind it is it's gonna be a girls' night out," Lauinger noted. "There will be a thing in the evening where girls can grab their girlfriends and spend an evening downtown -- shopping, wining, dining."
Participants can pay for their purchases using exclusive punch cards available through the Water Carnival.
Tuesday, June 12, will see the debut of yet another new event: Dance on Detroit.
"The Water Carnival is inviting the baby boomers to a retro flashback dance," Lauinger said. "We're doing a post World War II celebration with music from the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
"Everyone's invited, of course, but we're definitely trying to target that older demographic."
Wednesday will return to familiar territory with the 2nd Annual Bed Races.
This event consists of teams of five (representing a business or organization) racing custom-made beds on wheels through the City Park lot. This year, all pledges and registration fees will go to the St. Mary's pediatrics unit for beds.
Last year's Bed Races raised $7,500 for the Lakes Area Crisis Center.
On Thursday, June 14, Zorbaz will host bingo and a beer tasting.
According to Lauinger, 12 beer company representatives have already signed on, and more are sure to do so as the Carnival approaches.
Also, Happy Hour will run from 8 to 10 "It should be fun," Lauinger said.
The Northwest Water Carnival's signature event, the renowned Water Fights, will take place on Friday, July 15 in the City Park.
Teams of six compete against other teams to move a ball on a wire 10 feet above the round, in a single elimination tournament.
"The Water Fights were born in Detroit Lakes, and now people do them all over the area," Lauinger said.
The registration fee for the Water Fights is $30.
The final Saturday of the Water Carnival, known as "Big Saturday," will live up to its nickname with over 15 unique events.
The day will start with the NWC Fun Run/Walk at 8 a.m., along the City Beach. The entry fee is $12 in advance or $15 the morning of the race, and includes a free commemorative T-shirt. Registration is at 7 a.m.
The famous Bean Bag tournament will begin at 1 p.m. and continue throughout the afternoon.
"Our bean bag tourney's getting bigger and bigger every year," Lauinger said. "We're planning for 60 teams this year."
The 76th Northwest Water Carnival will culminate on Sunday, July 17 with the Parade of the Northwest. Featuring about 100 floats, this parade entertains over 10,000 spectators every year, concluding with the historic Jaycees Trolley.
"It's one of the largest parades in Minnesota," Lauinger said.
The parade begins at 1 p.m., but people are advised to show up much earlier if they want a decent view.
Most events at this year's Water Carnival are free with a $2 "NWC button", which also makes wearers eligible for discounts at local stores during the Carnival, and shows support for the Jaycees.
For more information on the Water Carnival, or to see a complete listing of events, visit dlwatercarnival.com. -- Nathan Kitzmann