With a name like Detroit Lakes, it's not exactly surprising that the community's biggest festival of the summer is focused on water - specifically, the body of water around which it was built.
For more than eight decades now, the Northwest Water Carnival has brought 10 days of summer fun to Detroit Lakes' City Beach, City Park and surrounding environs, traditionally starting on the weekend after Independence Day.
The longstanding tradition continues Friday, July 12, as the 84th NWC gets underway with a 5 a.m. visit from the KFAN Morning Power Trip Show for a "Kegs & Eggs" breakfast and live broadcast at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion.
The fun continues later on that day with a comedy show featuring KFAN's "Common Man," Dan Cole, who will perform live at Forest Hills starting at noon.
That evening, the 2019 Miss Northwest and Miss Northwest Outstanding Teen will be crowned at the conclusion of the Miss Northwest Pageant, which starts at 7 p.m. inside Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre.
A little later on, the Water Carnival Kickoff Party gets underway at 7:45 p.m. outside Lakeside Tavern, featuring live music from Tripwire, a local favorite.
Last but not least, there will be a nighttime session of disc golf, starting at 9 p.m. on the Detroit Lakes Disc Golf Course (adjacent to the city park).
Saturday's festivities begin at 7 a.m. with the Midsummer Bike Tour in front of the Pavilion, and the Fly-In, Drive-In Breakfast at the Detroit Lakes Airport, which starts at 8 a.m.
On the beach side of the Pavilion, the Dangerzone Crazies Crash Course - a skills and obstacle course geared toward adults - also begins at 8 a.m., and Hub 41 (just across the street from the Pavilion on West Lake Drive) will also be serving up breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. The seventh annual Ride for the Future, benefiting the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club, departs from the Pavilion parking lot at 8:30 a.m., and over at Dunton Locks County Park, LAMBAT (Lakes Area Mountain Bike Alliance & Trails) volunteers will be hosting a Family Fun Mountain Bike Race/Ride starting at 9 a.m.
The Lakes Area Farmers Market will be going on from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Peoples Park, and later that day, the Water Carnival Demolition Derby gets underway at 6 p.m. inside the Becker County Fairgrounds grandstand.
Sunday is Family Day, with a wide range of family-oriented, kid-friendly activities taking place in and around the City Park, Pavilion and beach throughout the afternoon.
First up is a Family Picnic that starts at 11:30 a.m. in the City Park, followed by a magic show inside the Pavilion at both 12:30 and 3 p.m., and there will also be free face painting in the City Park from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The City Park will also be the setting for the Toddler Trot races at 1:15 p.m., the Trolley Rides starting at 1:30 p.m. and continuing until 3:30 p.m., the Watermelon Feed at 2:30 p.m., the Turtle Races and Frog Jumping Contest starting at 2:45 p.m., and the Old-Fashioned Kids Games starting at 3:45 p.m.
Over at the City Park Bandshell, there will be a Hula Hoop Contest starting at 3:15 p.m., and a Kids' Music Concert featuring Tim Eggebraaten at 4:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, at the City Beach, there will be a Sand Treasure Dig Contest starting at noon, a Ship Building Contest at 1:30 p.m., and the increasingly popular Pup Plunges starting at 2 p.m.
The festivities continue throughout the following week, with the Patriot Assistance Dogs Golf Tournament, Bed Races, Junior NWC Pageant, Beach Soccer and Trivia Night on Monday, July 15; the Dance on Detroit featuring Doc & the Scrubs, Junior and Adult Tug-o-War and Lakes Area Farmers Market on Tuesday, July 16; Great Admirals Hat Hun, Junior and Adult Water Fights and Ice Cream Social on Wednesday, July 17; Bingo, a Home Brew Beer Contest and Tasting Event,, and the opening of the Legion Baseball Tournament on Thursday, July 18 (continuing through Sunday, July 21).
The final weekend of the water carnival will see more baseball as well as softball (Saturday and Sunday), rock climbing (Saturday and Sunday), helicopter rides (Friday through Sunday), Inflatable Games to Go (Friday and Saturday), bean bag tournament (Saturday only), sand volleyball tournament (Saturday only), and a 5K/10 mile fun run (Saturday only).
More kid-friendly activities take place on Saturday as well, including a Pet & Doll Parade, Pet Show, Junior Bean Bag Tournament and Sand Castle Contest.
There will be a second Family Picnic starting at 11 a.m. Saturday in the City Park, and a Pancake Breakfast hosted by the Knights of Columbus starting at 8 a.m. Sunday inside the Pavilion.
The Water Carnival's two biggest draws, the Bash on the Beach and Parade of the Northwest, also take place on the final weekend.
Smash Mouth, Eve 6, Hairball and ONE: Bash on the Beach 2019 is gonna rock
It's going to be an "All Star" kind of weekend: The Detroit Lakes Jaycees have announced that Smash Mouth will headline the 2019 Bash on the Beach on Saturday, July 20, as part of the 84th Northwest Water Carnival.
Eve6 ("Inside Out," "Here's to the Night") will open for the chart-topping band known for such hits as "All Star" and "Can't Get Enough of You Baby."
Hairball will also be returning to headline the Bash on the Beach lineup on Friday, July 19, with One: The Only Tribute to Metallica as their opening act.
"Last year was the first time we did two nights of the Bash on the Beach," says 2019 Water Carnival Co-Admiral Matt Kelly, and it was also the first time the concerts were rock and roll, rather than country. "And Friday night had record-breaking numbers. Saturday night there were a couple hundred fewer, but it was still a record number compared to previous years. There were something like 2,500 and 2,300 people in attendance Friday and Saturday."
"I think it's pretty cool that we're able to get big-name bands like Smash Mouth," says Brian Anderson, co-admiral of the 84th Northwest Water Carnival and a leading organizer of the Jaycees-sponsored event. "It's crazy to think that a little hometown volunteer organization can pull in names like that. We couldn't do it without the support of all the businesses in town, too."
Because of how well last year's Bash went, Kelly and Anderson "wanted to keep things going on that level of awesomeness," they say. They're hoping to at least match last year's attendance numbers, or better yet, exceed them.
Tickets for Hairball and One on Friday are $20, tickets to Eve6 and Smash Mouth on Saturday are $30, or you can purchase the Two-Night Special for $40. They're on sale right now at www.dljaycees.com/bash-on-the-beach, and can also be purchased at the Detroit Lakes Chamber or Central Market.
New this year: Don't spray if you see this sign
In response to complaints after last year's Parade of the Northwest, the Jaycees have created new signs that can attach to floats or vehicles pulling a float, instructing the crowd not to spray them with water.
While water has always been a fun and essential element of the parade, with lots of water balloons and water spraying between participants and the crowd, not everybody wants to get wet, says Matt Kelly, one of this year's Water Carnival Admirals. There are girls on pageant floats, for example, who can't get their expensive gowns soaked and ruined, and there are some floats with small children on board who get hurt or frightened by strong or fast water blasts.
Organizers are asking the public to be respectful when they see the signs, and not get those floats, or the people on them, wet. Kelly said they'd hate for people to start dropping out of the parade over this issue.