For most people, Labor Day weekend is the last opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some late summer fun. But in the lakes area, the summer fun will be extended for at least one more weekend.

Besides Zorbaz's 50th birthday and the Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon, there's at least one new event taking place this week, along with a handful of familiar favorites.

Welcome to Detroit Lakes

The inaugural "Welcome to Detroit Lakes" reception for all new and returning lakes area residents is Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion from 5 to 7 p.m. This public celebration will feature a handful of local food trucks as well as a cash bar and games filled with chances to win some unique door prizes.

There will also be "a giant concierge desk" packed with information about Detroit Lakes as well as a few coupons for local businesses and community services, said Carrie Johnston, President of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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Though the event is intended to be a socializing and networking opportunity for new and returning residents in the community, Johnston said the event is free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the chamber along with the City of Detroit Lakes, Leadership Detroit Lakes, Mahube-Otwa Community Action, Essentia Health, Arvig, Holiday Inn and the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club.

Nancy Olson is one of the friendly volunteers who help serve the guests at the annual Toast to Tamarac fundraiser at Richwood Winery, hosted by the Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. This year's event is set for Friday, Sept. 6. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
Nancy Olson is one of the friendly volunteers who help serve the guests at the annual Toast to Tamarac fundraiser at Richwood Winery, hosted by the Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. This year's event is set for Friday, Sept. 6. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Fun-filled Friday

Friday's festivities will include a sold-out concert at Shooting Star Casino featuring the rock band Foreigner, as well as Richwood Winery's Ninth Annual Toast to Tamarac.

Proceeds from the Toast benefit Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge — specifically its environmental education programs, which are staffed primarily by Friends of Tamarac volunteers. About 3,000 kids from area schools come out to the Refuge three times a year — in the fall, winter and spring, to experience all the different seasons and learn about nature, using all of their senses, and they also journal about their experiences.

Ogema Elementary students learned how to take tree measurements during an envirionmental education class at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy of Denise Warweg)
Ogema Elementary students learned how to take tree measurements during an envirionmental education class at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy of Denise Warweg)

Various refuge activities are incorporated into these classes, from snowshoeing and hiking to petting animal pelts, measuring trees and observing the many varieties of local plants and wildlife found at Tamarac.

"The curriculum for these classes meets Minnesota grad standards," said Friends of Tamarac volunteer Vonnie Jacobson, who is one of the eight FOT members that serve on the event committee for the Toast.

She added that Moorhead-based Concordia College also partners with them to help train future environmental education teachers. "It's a nice association," Jacobson said.

Tickets for “The Toast” are $30 in advance, or $35; advance tickets may be purchased at Richwood Winery, the Tamarac Visitor’s Center Gift Shop, Central Market, or at 218-846-9815 or 218-847-7193. Each ticket comes with a complimentary wine glass that includes a unique Toast to Tamarac commemorative design.

"This year's glass features a white-tailed deer," Jacobson said.

Besides an opportunity to sample Richwood Winery's unique vintages in that commemorative glass, the Toast will also feature live music by the David Ferreira Trio, wildlife-themed games of chance, a silent auction and hearty appetizers.

The silent auction will include many unique hand-crafted items, including a stained glass window from artist Robb Larson, metal art from Patrick Shannon of Forest Edge Gallery, a mosaic mirror from Jim Ullmer of Ullmer's Stoneware, and much more.

Created by artist Robb Larson, this stained glass window depicting Minnesota's state bird, the Common Loon, is among the many silent auction items donated for this year's Toast to Tamarac benefiting the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge's environmental Education programs. (Submitted photo)
Created by artist Robb Larson, this stained glass window depicting Minnesota's state bird, the Common Loon, is among the many silent auction items donated for this year's Toast to Tamarac benefiting the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge's environmental Education programs. (Submitted photo)

Richwood Winery Grape Stomp Festival

As soon as the grounds are cleaned up following the Toast, Richwood Winery's staff will immediately begin setting up for the Eighth Annual Grape Stomp Festival, 1-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.

Admission to the festival is just $10 per person (those under age 21 are admitted free of charge), and with that ticket each person will receive a commemorative wine glass, which they can use for a glass of wine, beer, sangria or nonalcoholic options. (Adult beverages are an additional $6 per glass.)

The main event, the Grape Stomp, gets underway at 3:30 p.m., but before that, there's shopping with eight local vendors who will be set up on the winery grounds, plus food, lawn games and live music.

The music starts shortly after the gates open at 1 p.m., with folk rock band Jackson & the Roosters coming all the way from the Twin Cities to perform.

Last year's costume competition at the Richwood Winery Grape Stomp Festival drew a record number of competitors, lead by 'Twisted Frenchman' Jonathan Danielson, right, and 'Stomping Sister-in-law' Sue Kostynick. whose teams tied for first place. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)
Last year's costume competition at the Richwood Winery Grape Stomp Festival drew a record number of competitors, lead by 'Twisted Frenchman' Jonathan Danielson, right, and 'Stomping Sister-in-law' Sue Kostynick. whose teams tied for first place. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Speaking of the Stomp, two-person teams can register as soon as they enter the festival grounds, up until the first heat at 3:30 p.m.

"Registration will be open until all heats are full," said Winery Coordinator Deb Krogsgaard. "We will accept up to 24 teams of stompers."

Four heats will be held, with each heat featuring six teams. There will be winners declared for each heat, according to the amount of juice they stomped out of the grapes. The top two stompers among all four heats will win prizes — as will the two best-dressed teams entered in the Stomp; as per tradition, the event will also include a costume contest.

After the Stomp prizes have been awarded, "American Idol" alumnus Zach Thomas will take the stage to perform. The Grand Forks-based singer-songwriter specializes in country and southern rock tunes; he will perform from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit www.richwoodwinery.com.

Shriners' Septober Fest

Last but not least, the Detroit Lakes Shrine Color Guard's Third Annual Septober Fest celebration is also set for Saturday evening.

As it has been since its inception, the event will be in the parking lot behind organizer Steve Larson’s Coldwell Banker Realty offices at 517 Washington Ave. in Detroit Lakes, from 5 to 8 p.m.

There will be a band playing German-style music, and the Shriners will be serving up brats, beer, beans and homemade sauerkraut. A costume contest will be held, with prizes for the best German-themed costumes — men's, women's and couples. Polka dancing is encouraged as well.

Detroit Lakes residents Craig Fontaine and  Steve Larson raised a glass at the inaugural Septober Fest, hosted by the DL Shrine Color Guard. The third annual event is set for this Saturday, Sept. 7. (Submitted photo)
Detroit Lakes residents Craig Fontaine and Steve Larson raised a glass at the inaugural Septober Fest, hosted by the DL Shrine Color Guard. The third annual event is set for this Saturday, Sept. 7. (Submitted photo)

Tickets are $20 in advance, and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, Coldwell Banker and Nereson Automotive in Detroit Lakes; Hanson’s Plumbing & Heating in Vergas and Perham; and Crane Johnson Lumber in Perham.

This is an event intended for those age 21 and above; for more information, call Larson at 218-844-6900.