The city of Detroit Lakes turns 150 years old this Thursday, July 29. To celebrate, organizers have been busy planning a full week's worth of Sesquicentennial activities, culminating in Thursday's 150th Birthday Bash at the City Park.
"We have something happening every day this week," said Detroit Lakes Vice Mayor Ron Zeman, who is a member of the sesquicentennial planning committee.
The weeklong celebration starts with Sunday's Art in the Park, which has been a Detroit Lakes City Park tradition since 1978. Typically held on the last Sunday in July, this event includes more than 100 art and craft vendors, enticing visitors with their creativity and originality. Set beneath the park's beautiful shade trees, this event also includes a variety of food vendors. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday, July 26, will feature a special command performance of the Lakes Area Community Concert Band, set for 7 p.m. underneath the City Park Bandshell. Detroit Lakes' Breakfast Rotary Club will be serving up taco in a bag for audience members as well. there is no cost to attend, but seating is limited, so visitors are asked to provide their own chairs and/or blankets so they can watch and listen in comfort.
Tuesday, July 27, will be highlighted by a special 150th anniversary edition of the Historic Holmes Theatre's weekly Tuesdays in the Park concert series. Generation Gap will be performing at the bandshell starting at 7 p.m., but for those who want to come a little early, the local chapter of Fuller Center for Housing will be serving up a Picnic in the Park starting at 5:30 p.m. Fresh-grilled brats, hamburgers and hot dogs are on the menu along with potato salad, baked beans and more, all for a suggested donation of $5 per person. Proceeds go to support local Fuller Center housing projects. There is no charge to attend the concert that follows, though free-will donations to support the arts in Detroit Lakes are greatly appreciated.
On Wednesday, the action shifts over to the Detroit Lakes Police Department's new home at 807 Summit Ave. (across the street from the Holmes Theatre). There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m., including remarks from Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk as well as Police Chief Steven Todd. Immediately after the ceremony, Chief Todd and his staff will be offering tours of the facility until 7 p.m.
Thursday's Sesquicentennial festivities will begin with an 11:30 a.m. Downtown History Tour by the staff of the Becker County Museum. Cost is $5 for adults, free for kids, but space is limited, so those planning to attend should call the museum at 218-847-2938 to reserve a spot, or register online at beckercountyhistory.org. For those unable to attend on Thursday, a second tour will be offered Friday, July 30, also at 11:30 a.m.
The 150th Birthday Bash starts at 4 p.m. in the City Park.
"That's our city's official organizational date," said City Admnistrator Kelcey Klemm. "It just seemed right to hold the celebration on that day. It should be a fun event."
A "Hoot & Toot" display of the city's fleet of service vehicles — from the police, public utilities and street department — will be showcased from 4 to 7 p.m., and there will be free face painting by Painted Turtle from 4 to 6 p.m. and a free "Magic by Imaginick" show from magician Nick Bretz offered at intervals between 4-7 p.m.
Then at 4:30 p.m., the city's signature sailboat sculpture by artist Hans Gilsdorf — which has been relocated from its old location on the City Beach to the new plaza at the corner of North Shore Drive and Washington Avenue — will be rededicated with a ribbon cutting, song and Ojibwe blessing from Mike Swan and the Smoke Stack Singers, remarks from Mayor Matt Brenk and burial of a Sesquicentennial Time Capsule.
"We are doing a final call out for time capsule items," said Becky Mitchell, director of the Becker County Museum, which has been organizing the project. "Items should be small and relative to 2021 — pictures, flyers, etc. — and can be dropped off at the museum no later than noon on Thursday."
The Birthday Bash will also include the official release of the museum's new sesquicentennial book, "Becker County, Minnesota in the 20th Century." Author Pippi Mayfield will be signing copies of the book from noon to 2 p.m. at the old schoolhouse on the Becker County Fairgrounds, and again from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the City Park, near the sailboat sculpture. There will also be a live "150 Sails Up in DL" sailboat auction, with the winner announced during the celebration.
Starting at 5 p.m., there will be a free Ice Cream Social, with serving to continue until 7 p.m., or until the ice cream is gone.
"Central Market is donating 2,000 ice cream treats to be given away," said Zeman.
Also at 5 p.m., a special edition of the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club's Thursday Trucks & Tunes gets underway in the park, with Matt Aakre performing under the bandshell and a selection of local food trucks serving up summer favorites of both the food and beverage variety until 8 p.m.
Friday, July 30, brings the Noon Rotary's Food Truck Fridays, with area food trucks serving up their wares in the City Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the inaugural Intrepid Adventure Film Festival, which runs from 3 to 11 p.m. at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion. The festival will feature screenings of multiple, adventure-themed short films, with speaker panels featuring the filmmakers and the adventurers who starred in them, along with food catered by the Spanky's Stone Hearth food truck, bar service both inside the Pavilion and out, and live music from October Road on the adjacent City Beach. General admission is $20 for adults, $10 for kids age 11 and under, with a special VIP package being offered for $45 that includes free beverages and a festival gift bag. Visit dlccc.org/holmes-theatre.html to reserve your ticket.
The Becker County Museum's special Sesquicentennial exhibit will also be on display every day, Tuesday through Friday, during regular museum hours, which are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and free to all kids age 18 and younger.
Besides all the scheduled activities, visitors can also check out all 150 "Sails Up" sailboat sculptures — 75 large, 75 small — that have been decorated by area artists and placed on display at venues scattered around the city. An interactive map of the public art project, including a complete list of the artists, sculptures, sponsors and locations, can be accessed at the Sesquicentennial website, dl150.com, which also includes a complete listing of this week's events and links. Paper copies of the map can also be picked up at the city office or Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"And the Becker County Fair will also be going on," Klemm said, adding that between all the happenings at the city park and the county fairgrounds, it should be a pretty busy week.