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.
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When the Lakes Area Parrot Heads make their rounds at the local hospital and nursing homes every Christmas morning — with Santa and Mrs. Claus in tow — they're greeted with lots of excitement and smiles. That's because the patients and residents at Essentia Health-St. Mary's, Oak Crossing and Ecumen Detroit Lakes know they're about to receive a very special gift: A fluffy teddy bear to call their own.
Since it began 15 years ago, the pre-Christmas "Candles & Carols" service at Detroit Lakes' Trinity Lutheran Church has become a popular holiday tradition. The church at 1401 Madison Ave. will once again open its doors to the community this coming Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. for the 15th annual Candles & Carols celebration — to be followed by a homemade turkey dinner in the church fellowship hall.
Children's literacy is a big part of the mission of the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary, so with the holidays approaching, about a half dozen of its members began working on a service project "to get Christmas books into the hands of as many children as possible," according to Rotarian Kathy Dretsch.
It's been 12 years since the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train first began making Detroit Lakes one of its annual stops, and each year, it has helped to keep the shelves of the Becker County Food Pantry filled with enough food to ensure that local families in need won't go hungry through the holiday season.
It's been about 18 years since the Kiwanis Club of Detroit Lakes and KRCQ Radio first began teaming up to brighten up the Christmas season for families experiencing tough times, by starting up a "Holiday Wish" program. "It started in 1999," says Kiwanis Club member Carrie Johnston, who is also a member of the Holiday Wish Committee. "Each year, more than 20 families receive donations through our program."
It's been more than 40 years since the last ice harvest took place in Detroit Lakes, but harvesting lake ice was a big part of Becker County's history for nearly a century — and now, it's the focus of a new commemorative book that will make its debut at the Becker County Museum, just in time for the holidays.
A 10-year Twin Cities holiday tradition that sold out two shows at Minneapolis' 2,000-seat State Theatre this weekend (causing a third to be added) is coming to Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on Friday, Dec. 8 for a 7:30 p.m. performance. The New Standards Holiday Show, featuring a truly impressive supporting cast of guest musicians, is a unique blend of holiday concert, variety show and free-wheeling music showcase, says Chan Poling, one of the talented trio of Minnesota musicians that comprise the group known as The New Standards.
Candies, cookies, jellies, jams, bars, breads, lefse hot off the griddle... even fresh baked cinnamon rolls: If you're craving a particular treat this Christmas season, the Holy Rosary Cookie Walk probably has it: In fact, there are usually at least 50 different varieties to choose from, according to organizers "We have a lot of ethnic delicacies, like pizzelles, rosettes, sandbakkles, krumkake, biscotti, Scottish shortbread," says Judy Luhman, who is one of the members of the planning committee for the Cookie Walk.
Lake Park native Cody Elhard, a 2017 graduate of Lake Park-Audubon High School, wasn't even old enough to vote during the last presidential election. Only one of his three teammates at North Dakota State University has even reached the legal drinking age — and that, just barely. Yet Elhard, who will turn 19 in January, and his three fellow undergraduates — all pursuing degrees in computer science at NDSU in Fargo — are in the process of building something that could have a dramatic impact on higher education in the United States.
Though Monday night's weather might have almost seemed more appropriate for t-shirts and sandals than woolen hats and mittens, Santa's Grand Parade of Lights and its attendant downtown festivities served as a fitting kickoff to the holiday season in Detroit Lakes.