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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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.
It's been more than 30 years since Lakes Area Young Life first began selling fresh-cut Christmas trees to area residents. The holiday tradition brings out customers new and old, some of whom have bought their trees from Young Life every year since it started. "We sell three types of trees," says Peter Paulson, Young LIfe area director. "One is a Balsam fir, one is white pine and then we also have a Fraser fir, which is kind of like the Cadillac of Christmas trees.
For as long as anyone at Detroit Lakes' Congregational Church can remember, the ladies of the church have hosted a Christmas celebration on the first Saturday in December. "It's been going on since at least 1941," says church member Anne Anderson. "It used to be a Christmas tea, and there was much more of an emphasis on crafts at one time, but it's evolved over the years." Though there may be a few craft items for sale on Saturday, Dec. 2, these days, the emphasis is on the bake sale — and the meal, she added.
For 49 years now, members of Detroit Lakes's Damien Society have been spending each Christmas season helping to warm the hands and heads — not to mention hearts — of local residents in need. "We've been doing it for 49 years now. Next year will be the big one — our 50th," says Damien Society member Michelle Norby.
Though it's been three years since country crooner John Berry last visited Detroit Lakes, he has been a familiar face at the Historic Holmes Theatre since his first concert there in 2005.
Going to be alone on Thanksgiving this year? Don't feel like spending the time to cook a turkey? Then come on down to Detroit Lakes' Holy Rosary Catholic Church for its annual Community Thanksgiving Feast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 23 in the church's Parish Center. "We'll have a full turkey dinner, with all the trimmings — freshly mashed potatoes, yams, corn, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin or apple pie," says Matt Brenk, who is organizing the feast along with his wife Mary this year. "And it's all prepared on site."
Give to the Max Day, a unique one-day online giving marathon that has been in existence since 2009, broke all previous records this past Thursday, Nov. 16, raising a total of$20,647,678 for nearly 5,400 nonprofits and schools across the state of Minnesota over a 24-hour period. And for the first time ever, a local nonprofit was the recipient of a "Golden Ticket" prize of $1,000: One of the donations pledged to the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center between 9-10 a.m. on Thursday was randomly chosen as the recipient of the prize, which was awarded by the Mall of America.
When the City of Detroit Lakes received word this past summer that it would be eligible to receive up to $17 million in state grant funding from the Public Facilities Authority (PFA) for its new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, city officials breathed a huge sigh of relief. Those sighs became a little louder last month, when bids were opened for construction of the estimated $34 million facility. Three firms submitted bids, with the low bid of just over $28.65 million coming in nearly $2.45 million under the original engineer's estimate of $31.1 million.
The official launch of the holiday season may still be ahead of us, but the lakes area is already gearing up for a whirlwind weekend of activity. There is no shortage of things to see and do over the next four days, from music concerts and art shows to a storytelling session about "local legends and lore." Here's a little compilation of the biggest happenings in the lakes area this Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 16-19. The Looney Lutherans
When plans for Detroit Lakes to supply the ice for a record-breakingly huge St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace were put in the deep freeze last month, the local Ice Harvest Committee decided to proceed with its own plans for a smaller-scale ice palace right here in DL — as the centerpiece of the community's February celebration of all things winter, Polar Fest 2018.