Food, dance and history were on display at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Saturday as the Celebration of Heritage treated attendees to traditional cultural elements of generations past.

The heritage event on Sept. 25 was part of the 150th birthday celebrations for the city of Detroit Lakes and Becker County as eventgoers viewed the educational booths and outdoor games for the kids.

Cindy Sauer, of Detroit Lakes, shared her secrets of making lefse, a flat bread Norwegian delicacy served at various holidays.

"I learned how to make lefse when I was about 8 years old," said Sauer. "It's made from potatoes, and I only use red potatoes."

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She still uses the 100-year-old sticks her grandfather carved for flipping the flat bread delicacy, which she said is part of the tradition.

Cindy Sauer, of Detroit Lakes, makes lefse, a Norwegian flat bread delicacy, during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Cindy Sauer, of Detroit Lakes, makes lefse, a Norwegian flat bread delicacy, during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Sauer is a member of the Sons of Norway and has been making lefse for the last 50 years. She said she doesn't really use a recipe after making it for so many years and just adds ingredients as she goes.

"I do melted butter and sugar, and little bit of salt and Half & Half, and then I freeze it for about 45 minutes," she said. "Then you take it out and you add flour, and Dakota-made flour is the only flour that I use, it's the best."

She also teaches community education classes through the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center to share her flat bread-making skills with anyone who wants to know her secrets.

"It's a wonderful event," said Sauer. "They have different people singing and right next door here, she's demonstrating rosemaling, that's another Scandinavian thing."

Indigenous food was also available for tasting as Christy Goulet, owner of Indigenous Legacy, prepared bakweziaigan, a fry bread, and wojapi, a blueberry pudding.

"When they put us on reservations … they gave us commodities, which was flour and sugar, so we had to figure out what to make off of it," said Goulet. "So that's how bakweziaigan came into being."

She said the wojapi was mixed with a little corn starch and then they were eaten together as a kind of dessert.

Christy Goulet, owner of Indigenous Legacy, prepared bakweziaigan, a fry bread, and wojapi, a blueberry pudding during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Christy Goulet, owner of Indigenous Legacy, prepared bakweziaigan, a fry bread, and wojapi, a blueberry pudding during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Goulet was also selling albums of traditional Native American songs that she had sung, which led to her being nominated for a Native American Music Awards.

"I'm the first woman ever to make it into the traditional song of the year category," she said.

Goulet added that she speaks four different indigenous languages and makes Native American jewelry for her business in her spare time.

Wendy Spry, a Detroit Lakes City Council member, shared popped wild rice, with salt or sugar, at her exhibit table. She said her father used to process hundreds of pounds of wild rice every year, which meant their was plenty of rice to snack on when she was a child.

Wendy Spry, a member of the Detroit Lakes City Council, explains her family's tradition behind popping wild rice for a snack during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Wendy Spry, a member of the Detroit Lakes City Council, explains her family's tradition behind popping wild rice for a snack during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"You just grow up with wild rice in your family when your Ojibwe," said Spry. "My dad would always harvest when he was younger, but when he started finishing the processing of wild rice for everybody, he didn't rice so much anymore, but he would finish everyone else's rice when they came off the lake."

She said she had cousins who would come off the lake with about 200 pounds of wild rice everyday.

"People would pay dad in wild rice … and so we always had an abundance of wild rice in my home," she said. "So dad would pop it for us as snacks … so it's just been a tradition in our family, Dad made it for us, I made it for my kids, and they love it."

The event culminated with a series of performances from the Detroit Lakes High School choir students and members of this year's musical production Newsies. Following the students were performances by the Detroit Lakes Cloggers and Detroit Lakes School's Drum and Dance team, which featured indigenous drum and dance routines.

Members of the Ruby Killtn Cloggers perform during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Members of the Ruby Killtn Cloggers perform during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Sage Smith, 6, smiles as she performs an indigenous dance with other members of the Detroit Lakes Schools Drum and Dance Team during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Sage Smith, 6, smiles as she performs an indigenous dance with other members of the Detroit Lakes Schools Drum and Dance Team during the Celebration of Heritage event at The Pavilion in Detroit Lakes on Sept, 25, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Two sailboat sculptures were displayed at the event entryway and available for online auction, as well as, a special repeater rifle, specially engraved for the city's 150th birthday celebration, which was raffled off at the end of the night.