Two performances by the Minnesota-based Fandazzi Fire Circus on Saturday, Feb. 8 are just part of the dazzling delights that await visitors to the opening weekend of Detroit Lakes' 2020 Polar Fest celebration.

The festivities officially get underway Thursday, Feb. 6 with the Grand Lighting of King Isbit's Royal Courtyard & Palatial Playground. For the past several weeks, volunteers have been busy transforming the Detroit Lakes City Beach and City Park into a winter wonderland of snow and ice sculptures, dominated by the Royal Courtyard that features a large throne, castle turrets, bridge, fire pits and furniture, all made of ice. There are also a few sparkly surprises in store for the grand lighting, which gets underway at 7 p.m.

Before the grand lighting, be sure to stop by Lakeside Tavern to sample Polar Pete's favorite brew, the festival's official Winter Shanty, which is brewed on site at the Tavern Brewery especially for the festival. The Winter Shanty tasting is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Then on Friday, Feb. 7, the Vern Turner Memorial Bonspiel gets underway at Lakes Curling Club, continuing through Sunday, Feb. 9. In the City Park, there will be local businesses vying for the title of Polar Fest Snow Sculpting Champion. The competition runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the public is encouraged to come cheer them on.

Also on Friday, the Historic Holmes Theatre will be hosting its annual Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance, starting with the Grand March at 6 p.m., as dads and daughters in their formal wear line up to walk down the aisles on both sides of the Holmes Theatre and strut their stuff on stage before heading off for an evening of dancing, crafts, food and fun together.

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"We have a really fun theme this year ... it's all glow in the dark," said the theater's marketing director, Rachel Hofstrand.

"We're calling it 'Let's Glow Crazy,'" added Beth Gilbert, the theater's outreach director, noting that the decorations in both the theater and ballroom will include neon-bright colors like hot pink, yellow, orange, green and turquoise.

"It's Prince meets Disney this year," joked Amy Stearns, the theater's executive director, noting that Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" will feature prominently in the soundtrack for the evening. "The DJ will be spinning kid and dad-friendly music, with food from La Barista."

Gilbert added that they will also have a professional photographer on hand to take sit-down photos of the dads and daughters for them to take home. Early-bird pricing for the event continues through Monday, Feb. 3, with tickets at $15 for dads, $10 for daughters, or $35 for the "Princess Package" that includes the daughter's ticket as well as a crown and a few other special treats to make them feel like a princess.

"After Monday, the price on everything goes up $5," Gilbert added.

Friday night is also the night for the Lakes Area Parrot Heads' "Welcome to Polaritaville" fundraiser at Shorewood Pub, benefiting the Lakes Area Imagination Library. Each $30 admission ticket will give attendees a Caribbean-style dinner and an evening of tropical fun, while supporting a full year of books for one child through the Imagination Library. The fun gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Only 100 tickets will be sold, so make sure to contact Jim Brogren at 218-841-2968 as soon as possible to reserve your seat.

Saturday's festivities will include the Breakfast Rotary Club's annual Poles & Holes Ice Fishing Derby, Kiwanis Pancake Feed, the Great Polar Race and the Fandazzi Fire Circus, which will be performing at 7 and 9 p.m. in the City Park. A complete schedule is available online at

Also on Saturday, the Becker County Museum will be hosting its Winter Crafting Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Postponed from Jan. 18, the event will include a variety of fun winter crafts for families to enjoy making together — most of them costing just $1. Then stay and explore the museum together — there is no admission charged to families participating in the crafting event.