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Water Carnival begins on Friday

Amy and Matt Boeke are the admirals for this year’s Northwest Water Carnival. The festivities begin Friday.

Now that Independence Day festivities are over for another year, it’s time for Detroit Lakes to gear up for its biggest community event of the summer.

Yes, it’s water carnival time! The 78th annual Northwest Water Carnival officially gets underway this Friday, July 12, with the Miss Northwest/Miss Northwest Teen Pageant at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

Pageant participants, take note: The past two winners of the Miss Northwest title have both gone on to take the Miss Minnesota title as well.

Both the 2011 and 2012 title winners will be on hand for the festivities: Miss Northwest 2011, Siri Free, will be the emcee, while Miss Northwest 2012, Rebecca Yeh, will be there to hand over the crown to her successor, as will Miss Northwest Teen 2012, Sarah Labine.

Contestants for the Miss Northwest Teen title include: Cheyann Vareberg, 15; Sarah Wendt, 15; Brittanie Schafer, 16; and Tianna Schwartz, 16.

Miss Northwest contestants will be Libby Schmit, 18; Michelle Stahlecker, 20; Chantal Wilson, 22; Annie Holzgrove, 17; Chandler Kallock, 18; and Heather Pearson, 20.

The two competitions will take place together, beginning at 7 p.m. inside the Holmes Theatre.

Following the pageant, there will be Night Golf at the Lakeview Executive Course in Detroit Lakes, starting at 9 p.m.

Then on Saturday, a mixture of old and new events will take place in and around the community.

“We have two new events this year,” said the 2013 Water Carnival Admiral Matt Boeke. “There’s arm wrestling at 11 a.m. in the Pavilion, and the Beast on the Beach, which is Detroit Lakes’ version of a strong man competition, starting at noon.”

But first up on the Saturday schedule is the Midsummer Bike Tour, which begins at 7 a.m. outside the Detroit Lakes Pavilion.

Participants can choose a 15-mile family ride, 30-mile loop or 45-mile loop, and can begin their ride anytime between 7 and 9 a.m. Entry fee is $20, which includes a commemorative T-shirt. A kids’ version of the bike tour starts at 10 a.m., also outside the Pavilion. Please contact Viva Klundt at 701-400-9720 for more details.

Next comes the Fly-in and Breakfast held at the Detroit Lakes Airport, from 8 to 11:30 a.m.

Going on its fourth year during the Water Carnival, the Fly-In is sponsored by the Lakes Area chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. This year’s Fly-in includes, but is not limited to, home-built and experimental aircraft and classic cars from the surrounding area. There will even be a hot air balloon on display this year.

At the fly-in, you will get to see a variety of planes and learn about how they work. There will be around 75 to 100 aircraft available for viewing, including both recreational and military planes.

There will also be a delicious breakfast held during the Fly-In, featuring waffles by Dad’s Belgian Waffles. Cost is $6 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and under eat for free.

Anyone 18 and younger interested in flying or aircraft is more than welcome to sign up for plane rides during the fly-in as well.

Geocaching enthusiasts will have the opportunity to test their skills throughout the carnival’s opening weekend; GPS coordinates will be available at the Pavilion starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Detroit Lakes and Perham will host their 2nd Annual Ride for the Future motorcycle ride. The event is intended to raise awareness for after school and summer programming provided to Becker and Otter Tail County youth.

The Ride for the Future will begin with registration and check-in at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion at 10:30 a.m. Kickstands will go up at 11:30 a.m. and riders will tour an approximately 100-mile scenic route that includes a lunch stop at Ice Cracking Lodge and a rest stop at the Hostel Hornet in Frazee. The ride ends at the Pavilion around 5 p.m.

The cost of the ride is $20 per bike and $10 per 2-up passenger. Lunch is included. For more information, call Sue Trnka at 218-847-5700, Ext. 4.

The Lakes Area Farmers Market and Detroit Lakes Farmers Market will both be open for business on Saturday as well, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Lakes Area Farmers Market is based in Peoples Park (behind Zorbaz), while the DL Farmers Market takes place on the west lawn of The Depot (at the corner of Washington Avenue and Highway 10).

Rotate the Lake, a “bar and grill hopping” event co-hosted by the Detroit Lakes Rotarians and Jaycees, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

In order to participate in Rotate the Lake, you must be 18 or older.  To take part, you can visit any of the six restaurants participating in the event — Bleachers, Zorbaz, Lakeside tavern, Holiday Inn, Long Bridge and the Jaycees-run bar at the Pavilion — to pick up your ticket, make a donation and sign up for prizes.

At each stop, participants will have access to drink specials and drawings for prizes. They will also earn points toward the cash grand prize. While participants can start at any of the locations, they must end at the Pavilion to have their points totaled. This year’s donation to participate is $10 and goes toward the Rotary’s literacy program.

“To cap off the night, we have the ever-popular Demolition Derby, which gets underway at the Becker County Fairgrounds at 6 p.m.,” said Boeke.

This year’s event promises “new classes and more crashes,” and there will be concessions and beer gardens available as well. Spectator fee is $7 per person.

The opening weekend concludes with the Water Carnival’s Family Fun Day, set for Sunday, July 14, at the Detroit Lakes City Park. Join the Jaycees and Essentia Health for a day of family-friendly events.

“The day starts at 10:30 a.m. with a Young Life worship service in the Pavilion and ends with Tim Eggebraaten playing kids’ music at 3:30 p.m. in the Bandshell,” said Boeke.

“All afternoon there will be kids’ activities including a toddler trot, water balloon toss, trolley rides, face painting and more.”

The Jaycees are also bringing back the “water walking balls” — “big, blow-up spheres that kids get inside and try to run or walk around in the pool” — for a second year.

“Last year it was a huge hit, so we’re bringing it back for year two, and hopefully we’ll get even more kids in there to enjoy it,” Boeke said.

The Fishing Extravaganza is new to Family Day this year, and takes place from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. It is recommended that kids and their families bring their own fishing poles, however if you do not own a pole there will be limited gear available at the extravaganza.

Bait will be provided but participants are welcome to bring their own.

Here’s how the extravaganza works: you catch a fish, you win a prize. There will be Jaycees there to help the kids and ensure their safety. MinnAqua Intern Kyle Quietschreiber will also be there to offer assistance.

Trolley rides are also a new event to Family Day. This year free trolley rides will be given to children and their families around the park, Washington Avenue and the beach area.

The annual Sand Castle Contest will also be held on Family Day in front of the Pavilion, starting at 1:30 p.m. There are three separate categories for contestants: families, individual adults and individual kids.

Two types of sand castles are allowed during the competition, classic sand castles or building shaped sand castles, and free form sand castles. Free form castles include mermaid sculptures and other unique creations made out of sand. Participants will need to supply their own tools.

The new Miss Northwest and Miss Teen Northwest will be judging the contest.

Water carnival activities will continue throughout the following week, and conclude on Sunday, July 21, with the Parade of the Northwest, Water Ski Show and more. A complete schedule, including contact and sign-up information for individual events, is available online at

“As long as the weather holds up nice and sunny, we should have another great water carnival,” Boeke said.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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