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Tribune Editorial: Organizers did great job with DL's Capital for a Day

The sun shone on Capital for a Day festivities in Detroit Lakes, which went off without a hitch on Wednesday, thanks to a lot of hard work by organizers.

Some of the highlights were the community picnic in City Park and the Famous Minnesotans recreated by young people at the Washington Square Mall.

Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz did the city proud -- he was involved in events throughout the day, helping plant trees, dedicate the new sailboat sculpture, cutting the cake, and showing visiting dignitaries around the city.

The organization committee appointed by Buboltz -- Dale Westley, Cris Valdez and Amy Stearns -- worked on the event for several months and did a great job.

But as Stearns pointed out earlier, the overall effort involved a whole variety of 30-40 people, agencies, schools and organizations.

After a dance Tuesday night at the Soo Pass Ranch, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau kicked off the festivities Wednesday morning. Other visiting dignitaries included State Auditor Rebecca Otto and former Gov. Al Quie.

Planners came up with events for all ages -- booths and interactive exhibits including the Scenic Byway, Festival of Birds, Tamarac National Wildlife refuge, and Pelican River watershed District among others.

There were antiques on display for those interested in history (it's all in honor of the state's 150th birthday this year, after all) and events for those looking for noise. The Hoot and Toot for kids involved all sorts of equipment that can make noise -- squad cars, snowplows, ambulances, fire trucks, you name it, on display in City Park for kids to see, and for everyone to hear.

Organizers found ways to bring the lake into the celebration, with J&K Marina giving free pontoon rides and kids fishing at the DNR pier on the beach.

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

In the end, it was those people who showed up that made the day a success.

And none of it would have happened if not for all those who voted on the state's sesquicentennial Web site to make Detroit Lakes capital for a day for the deciduous zone.

How strong is the civic spirit here? Detroit Lakes was one of just five cities in Minnesota to win the honor, receiving more votes than much bigger cities in its zone, including St. Cloud and Bloomington.