It was a pancake breakfast at the airport.

It was car crashes at the county fairgrounds.

And, it was also a family Sunday at the park and beach with 17 athletic pooches soaring through the air to large splashes and applause from the crowd.

The opening weekend of the 85th Northwest Water Carnival did not disappoint event attendees from July 9 to July 11, with a full schedule of events and activities for people of all ages. The event is sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Jaycees and runs through July 18, which will feature the Parade of the Northwest and water ski show on Sunday.

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"We have been a little short on members, but we have everyone who has just stepped up and I'm very, very impressed with our group," said Kate Spaeth, president of the Detroit Lakes Jaycees. "They come out here and they are just giving their all."

Weekend started on Friday, July 9 with a performance by Tim Eggebraaten to celebrate the 60th birthday for the Lake Agassiz Regional Library, which includes the public library in Detroit Lakes.

Hans Gilsdorf and his daughter Megan look into the cockpit a vintage airplane at the Fly-in and Drive-in at the Detroit Lakes - Becker County Airport during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Hans Gilsdorf and his daughter Megan look into the cockpit a vintage airplane at the Fly-in and Drive-in at the Detroit Lakes - Becker County Airport during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

By Saturday morning, it was time for the pancake breakfast at the Detroit Lakes - Becker County Airport, hosted by Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1498 located in Detroit Lakes. Their membership promotes aviation enthusiasm of all kinds from building to flying, according to the group's Facebook page, and members enjoyed serving the large crowd and showing their aircraft, one group member said.

Phil Kinney, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1498, cooks pancakes at the Fly-in and Drive-in at the Detroit Lakes - Becker County Airport during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Phil Kinney, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1498, cooks pancakes at the Fly-in and Drive-in at the Detroit Lakes - Becker County Airport during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

"It's great and it started out at an absolute perfect pace, but now it's starting to stack up a little bit," said Jason Anderson, a EAA 1498 member and former member of the Fargo Air National Guard, during the event.

He also said he received his pilots license in 1980, beginning his 41-year love affair with airplanes. However, he is between planes at the moment, but he had been flying a Cessna 172 and Piper-Cherokee 182.

Also at the airport, a line of classic cars added additional eye candy as event attendees ate breakfast and toured the grounds.

Following the pancake breakfast on Saturday, July 10, a five-round demolition derby kicked off at the Becker County Fairgrounds in the afternoon. More than 10 drivers competed across five categories which included: full size V8 cars, regular compacts, V6 engine trucks, mini-compact and SUVs, and welded compacts.

Josh Wurst, car 15X, and Curt Zacharias, car 211, collide at the demolition derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Josh Wurst, car 15X, and Curt Zacharias, car 211, collide at the demolition derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

"A lot of these guys have been derbying together, so everybody is always here to put on a show for the families, and that's what they all come out for, and that's what it's all about, putting a show on," said Drew Lessin, chair of the water carnival's demolition derby committee. "It's a good turnout, always what we hope for."

Drew Lessin, demolition derby event organizer, monitors vehicle destruction as an official judge at the demolition derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Drew Lessin, demolition derby event organizer, monitors vehicle destruction as an official judge at the demolition derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 10, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

Drivers could win up to $1,000 in each round with $400 going to the second place finisher.

The track started out muddy, which made it difficult to maneuver the vehicles into striking position.

"It's hard to put on a show when it's that muddy," said Curt Zacharias, of Ridgeville, Minn., winner of the full-size car class. "It's hard on the motors, though. I had to run the RPMs just to move around."

Zacharias said it took him about 50 hours to put together his vehicle for the derby, and only about 15 minutes to destroy it.

On Sunday, July 11, it was Family Day at the Northwest Water Carnival and featured a plethora of activities for children, including: frog and turtle races, a toddler trot, ship building, face painting, a sandcastle contest and puppy plunge from the J&K Marine dock on City Beach.

"And that's what this day is all about, it's all these different activities for the kids," said Kate Spaeth. "They can go around, they can pick and choose what they want to do and where they want to be, everything we can do to make it for the families."

Kids raced frogs and turtles in city park through eight different heats, with dozens of kids competing in the event -- using many of the same animals throughout the competition.

Kelsea Jasch, 4, of Detroit Lakes, tries to persuade her turtle to move during the turtle races in City Park during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 11, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Kelsea Jasch, 4, of Detroit Lakes, tries to persuade her turtle to move during the turtle races in City Park during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 11, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

"This is what it's about, bringing people together," said Kyle Meacham, a frog and turtle race event organizer. "Seeing these smiling faces gives me a lot of hope for the future of our community."

The animals were provided by a family who, every year, take their pontoon to Muskrat Lake to secure animals for the event. This year the family provided 10 turtles for the event, according to a family member.

The toddler trot followed the races near the bandshell with dozens of barely walking toddlers and older kids scrambling to secure inflatable beach balls that were released on a hill. There was also face painting and trolley rides throughout the morning's events.

Sunday afternoon at the water carnival was for the pooches as eventgoers lined the City Beach to see 17 athletic pooches make leaps from the J&K Marine dock to see which one could leap the farthest.

"It is one of my favorite events," said Kate Spaeth, an organizer of the puppy plunge. "I've been helping to chair it for the last five years now, and every year we continue to grow and have more dogs, and more entertaining dogs."

Trophies were awarded to Lincoln, a chocolate Labrador from Detroit Lakes, who jumped a total of 48-feet through both of his jumps and Aspen, a 5-year-old black Labrador, who had the longest jump, clearing 25-feet in a single plunge.

Lincoln, a chocolate Labrador from Detroit Lakes, leaps from a dock as part of the puppy plunge during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 11, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Lincoln, a chocolate Labrador from Detroit Lakes, leaps from a dock as part of the puppy plunge during the 85th Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes on July 11, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

The 85th Northwest Water Carnival will continue this week through Sunday, July 18. Check out the remaining schedule of water carnival events at the Detroit Lakes Jaycees website.

The Jaycees hold events every month and hold their monthly meetings on the first Thursday of every month at Hub41 in Detroit Lakes at 7 p.m.