March arrives this weekend — and with it, a growing impatience at the fluctuating weather conditions that mark the end of another long, cold winter in lakes country.
It's a condition commonly referred to as "cabin fever": irritability, listlessness and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter months.
A little over a dozen years ago, a group of ladies from Detroit Lakes' Grace Lutheran Church came up with the idea of hosting an event designed to beat those late-winter blahs, which they humorously dubbed the Cabin Fever Supper.
The 13th Annual Cabin Fever Supper is Saturday, March 7, in Grace Lutheran's fellowship hall. Though the event has only been around since 2007, its founder, Ruby Kiihn, says that it replaced a fall church supper that had been around since the 1970s.
The name change came about when the original fall supper was moved to February, Kiihn said, due to the fact that the church was just finishing up construction of its new addition. The name stuck, and they’ve been holding it right around the same time ever since — despite an occasional run-in with the unpredictability of winter in Minnesota.
“One of the first times we had it, there was a blizzard,” Kiihn recalled. “The radio station was advising no travel, but I called them and said we’re going to have our supper anyway; the food’s already prepared. We got 300 people that year. They came from Pelican Rapids, from Hawley … we didn’t expect anywhere near that many.”
This year, Kiihn has stepped back a bit from organizing the annual event, leaving it in the capable hands of chairman Blace Schmidt.
"It'll be a week later than last year, on March 7," he said, which organizer hope means the weather will be a bit more hospitable than in previous years.
But other than a slightly later date, the format for the annual event remains unchanged.
"Everything is still homemade," Schmidt said, though some of the preparations are done during the week preceding the supper, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Because of the immense amount of preparation involved, as well as serving and cleanup afterward, about 30-40 volunteers are needed to keep things running smoothly, he added.
As always, the menu will include meatballs, gravy and mashed potatoes as well as lefse, buns, corn, pickles, coleslaw and beverages — but for many, the highlight of the event is the array of sweet treats that are served up for dessert.
"They're the kind you can’t pick up with your fingers,” Kiihn said prior to last year's event. “You’ll have to eat them with a fork.”
The cost to attend? Just $10 per plate, though kids between ages 4-10 will be admitted for half that amount, and those age 3 and younger can eat for free. And best of all is the satisfaction of knowing that your admission fee will go to a good cause.
"Proceeds from this year's supper will go to support the Emma Project, which helps homeless students in the Detroit Lakes community," Schmidt said.
Grace Lutheran Church is at 213 Roosevelt Ave. The fellowship hall is at the rear of the building, and has its own parking area. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 218-847-4568 or stop in at the church office during regular office hours (8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday).
Also coming up
- The Detroit Lakes Knights of Columbus, Council 3166, will host a Friday night fish fry on three different nights during the Lenten season: Feb. 28, March 13 and March 27. Serving will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Holy Rosary Parish Center, 1043 Lake Ave. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students younger than 12. All proceeds will be returned to the community.
- The Knights of Columbus, Council 12581 of Frazee will host its annual Lenten fish fry fundraisers on three Fridays, March 6, March 20 and April 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frazee. The dinners include fried fish, scalloped potatoes or French fries, green beans, cole slaw, bread and ice cream; tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for kids ages 7-12, and free for all kids age 6 and younger. Proceeds will go toward the local school lunch program and spring scholarships.
- St. Andrew’s Catholic Church of Hawley will host a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including assorted salads and desserts, on Sunday, March 15, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12; all children age 5 and younger can eat for free. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will go to support local charities.
- Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Frazee will host Ham Bingo 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Each game's winner will receive one ham as their prize; consolation prizes will be available if there is more than one bingo. The last game is a blackout, with the grand prize being supplies for a complete ham dinner. Cost to participate is $1 for three cards; all proceeds will go to help pay for repairs to the church parsonage.