With pandemic safety requirements limiting the crowd to just 250 people, Friday afternoon's Sailboat Regatta Party for the "150 Sails Up in DL" public art project didn't quite fill Detroit Lakes' Freeman Arena to capacity — but a steady stream of people did queue up outside to take their turn at viewing the one-night-only spectacle.
- Related: Learn more about the 150 Sails Up in DL public art project and other Detroit Lakes Sesquicentennial festivities at dl-online.com.
Inside the arena, just past the lobby and concessions area, there were a few rows of Detroit Lakes 150th anniversary merchandise for sale — but it was just around the corner from the merchandise area that the evening's main attraction — 150 three-dimensional metal sailboat sculptures, each uniquely decorated by more than 80 regional artists — stood ready to greet the onlookers.
Many of the artists stood quietly next to the sailboats they had designed, ready to listen to comments and answer questions about their creations.
Mosaic artist Becky Mitchell stood proudly between the two 4-foot sailboat designs she had created, for the Becker County Museum (of which she is the executive director) and the Detroit Lakes Public Library. Greta Guck, the director of the local library, came up to Mitchell and gushed about how much she loved the design for their sculpture.
Early in the festivities, the 150th and final sailboat design — which had been a closely guarded secret up until that point — was finally unveiled. The artist? Detroit Lakes 5th grader Ava Marchus, whose brightly colored image of a sailboat on the lake at sunset was the grand prize winner in a sailboat coloring contest sponsored by the City of Detroit Lakes.
Marchus's award-winning design had been secretly applied to a vinyl wrap for one of two 20-inch tabletop sailboats set to be sold via silent auction that evening. The other, a mosaic design titled "Spinner Blade Parade," was created by local artist and avid fisherman Rick Livermore.
Proceeds from the sale of the Marchus-designed sailboat, titled simply "Sails Up Detroit Lakes," will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes, while the proceeds for Livermore's creation were designated for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Meanwhile, outside the arena, an equally large crowd had gathered to enjoy a variety of culinary creations provided by local food trucks including Johnny's, Fork on the Road, Slim Piggins and the DL Ice Cream Truck; a cash bar was also set up outside the arena, directly across from an open semi trailer where the Cropdusters performed live music throughout the evening.
Friday's Regatta Party was the only time where all of the "Sails Up" sculptures were set up in one place; starting this weekend and continuing through Saturday, May 15, each of the sculptures will be relocated to their new homes throughout the city.
Interactive map of sailboat locations to go live later this month
Kyle Meacham of Minnesota Multimedia, the man behind the creation of the Detroit Lakes Sesquicentennial website, dl150.com, is in the process of finalizing the design of an interactive map that will be available on the website for those wanting to hunt down the locations of all 150 sculptures this summer.
Each sailboat location will be marked by a tiny sailboat on the map; when a person clicks on one of the sailboats, a pop-up menu will appear, containing a picture of the sculpture, its name, the artist, the sponsor, and the exact street address of its location. There will be a Google Maps link to help track that location via GPS, and a link to the artist's website, when he or she has one set up.