"More fire!" was the cry that could be heard rising above the trees of Detroit Lakes' City Park Saturday night, Feb. 8, as the Fandazzi Fire Circus dazzled a huge crowd of Polar Fest visitors for two free shows.

During both the 7 and 9 p.m. performances, the four members of Fandazzi Fire held the crowd spellbound as they juggled, swallowed, danced around and even breathed fire, leaving their audience begging for more.

Youth rules

Earlier in the day, the Breakfast Rotary's Poles 'N Holes Ice Fishing Derby saw one of its youngest winners ever, as 12-year-old Brody Bowers brought home the top prize.

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Youth also won the day at Sunday's "Minne-Soda" Hotdish & Dessert Bar Challenge, with young Ava Esser taking home a double prize in the dessert category. Her Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars took both the first place trophy and the people's choice award. Taking the first place trophy in the hotdish challenge was Anita Hill and her Chicken Nacho Hotdish, while the people's choice award went to Lynn Hendricks and her Tator Tot Hotdish.

There were a record number of participants this year, with 15 hotdish and 7 dessert bar entries — including Miss Minnesota 2019, Kathryn Kueppers, who entered both categories, and despite not taking home a prize, graciously posed for photographs with the winners at the end of the contest.

Miss Minnesota 2019, Katherine Kueppers (at left) congratulated the winners of Sunday's Minne-Soda Hotdish & Dessert Bar Challenge: Ava Esser, who took home both the first place trophy and the people's choice award for her White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake dessert bars; Anita Hill, who took the first place trophy for her Chicken Nacho Hotdish; and Lynn Hendricks, who won the people's choice award for her Tator Tot Hotdish.
Miss Minnesota 2019, Katherine Kueppers (at left) congratulated the winners of Sunday's Minne-Soda Hotdish & Dessert Bar Challenge: Ava Esser, who took home both the first place trophy and the people's choice award for her White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake dessert bars; Anita Hill, who took the first place trophy for her Chicken Nacho Hotdish; and Lynn Hendricks, who won the people's choice award for her Tator Tot Hotdish.

More fun to come

There isn't any more fire in the Polar Fest forecast for this weekend, but there's plenty of ice — from Friday's Ice Tee Golf tournament on the ice of Big Detroit Lake in front of the Holiday Inn, to Saturday's Polar Fest Plunge into the freezing depths of Little Detroit across from Lakeside Tavern, to the Kids' Pan Fishing Derby on Sunday near the Rossman Avenue access on Little Detroit.

Washington Square Mall will host the Polar Putt for fun and prizes at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, as well as the Polar Fest Break-a-thon fundraiser for the Greater Community Tae Kwon Do Club and Becker County Food Pantry at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13. Comedian Tom Papa will be doing a Valentine's Day show at the Historic Holmes Theatre Friday, Feb. 14, while the Stovepipes will be rockin' the Holmes' Backstage series on Saturday, Feb. 15.

A full schedule of upcoming events is available at polarfestdl.com, though several local businesses also have paper copies on hand.

Boys & Girls Club needs your support Saturday

The Polar Fest Plunge is the festival's signature event, but also one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes.

Since the Boys & Girls Club opened its new 30,000-square-foot facility in September, its participation rate has grown from an average of about 100 kids a day to more than 150, according to Executive Director Pat Petermann.

"We're also serving 100-125 snacks every day, and roughly 100 hot meals every night," he added. "We've seen over 300 different kids (since September)."

"They really love coming here," said Alyssa Hoskins, the club's communications and special projects coordinator. "They're so excited ... we're always having to remind them to slow down."

But with a new facility that is roughly double the size of the old one, comes greater operating expenses, at a time when the club has just lost two major sources of funding for the year: About $50,000 that they have received from their annual WE Fest raffle and staffing the music festival's VIP Hospitality area, and a $30,000 grant that was a victim of state budget cuts.

"We're finding other ways to make up that loss of revenue," Petermann said, including Thursday's Giving Hearts Day fundraiser and Saturday 24th Annual Polar Fest Plunge.

"Right now, we have 48 people signed up to take the Plunge," said Hoskins, "including one of our club members, and a staff member. We also have quite a few returning plungers."

There is still time to sign up and get pledges to take the plunge, either by calling 218-847-5700, stopping by the club at 150 Richwood Road, or visiting the club's website at bgcdl.org.

In addition to the Plunge at 1 p.m. Saturday, the club is also holding a Polar Fest Raffle, with the drawing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday inside Lakeside Tavern. There are 14 prizes, including an 82-inch Samsung flat screen TV, a $500 Central Market gift card and a $1,000 gift card for the Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store, Petermann said. Tickets are available at Central Market as well as at the club, and the thrift store at its new location, just off Highway 10 on the west side of Detroit Lakes.