Legend has it that Polar Fest’s mascot, Polar Pete, came down to Minnesota from the Arctic Circle in search of excitement and a fun place to call home. He liked people and wanted to play, and he also wanted to visit his old friend, Babe the Blue Ox (you know, Paul Bunyan’s famous ox).

When he arrived in Minnesota and saw how beautiful the state is, and learned about all the fun that Babe had living here, Polar Pete decided he wanted to live in Minnesota, too. He checked out a number of communities, but none had quite the same feel and love for winter as Detroit Lakes.

As Mike Stearns writes in his Polar Pete origin story (which can be found in its entirety on polar festdl.com), Polar Pete found that special “it” in Detroit Lakes.

“It was people who embraced winter and who made it a time to celebrate. It was people who knew you couldn’t dread winter, otherwise you were living in the wrong part of the world. It was people who knew you had to enjoy this time of year for what it is, a beautiful, grand season. The people of Detroit Lakes realized that, and they celebrated it with Polar Fest.”

During his first visit here, Polar Pete spent all of Polar Fest celebrating with the townsfolk. He decided then and there that Detroit Lakes was the place for him, and today, all these years later, he still gets out to enjoy the many events of Polar Fest, living by the festival’s motto, “Get outside and find your fun!”

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