'Plunge' into the final weekend of Polar Fest: Polar Plunge, tubing, fireworks and more are still to come

Despite a handful of weather-related delays and cancellations, Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest has had a successful run thus far — and this weekend's grand finale promises to send off the celebration in style.

Frozen Fireworks 2.jpg
Polar Fest organizers have planned a second night of Frozen Fireworks to close out the 17-day festival on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

It seems just a few days ago that Detroit Lakes' 2022 Polar Fest celebrations got underway, with a memorable opening weekend that featured the Grand Lighting of the Ice Palace, Frozen Fireworks, two performances by the Fandazzi Fire Circus, a Hot Dish and Dessert Bar Challenge and a "Cool Kites on the Lake" kite-flying festival , just to name a few.

Though several events have had to be postponed, delayed or even canceled due to harsh weather, there's been no shortage of visitors attending the festival.

"It's been going great!" said Chamber of Commerce President Carrie Johnston, one of the festival's organizers. "The schedule’s been a little bit of a moving target, but I think people have been participating and happy to be out and about at all the different events."

Speaking of the "moving target" schedule, two events scheduled for earlier this week were postponed: Sunday's "Try Cross Country Skiing" event on Little Detroit Lake, and Monday night's Polar Glow Night at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion.

The Polar Glow Night is now scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Light up the night with glowsticks, kids music, hot chocolate bar and treats in this new event hosted by the Detroit Lakes Jaycees. No new date had yet been set for the cross country skiing event as of press time.


Cool Kites.JPG
More than 25 large kites flew over Little Detroit Lake on Sunday, Feb. 13. The second annual Cool Kites on the Lake brought in kite flyers from Illinois, Wisconsin and North Dakota as well as Minnesota — and even one couple from the United Kingdom.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Remaining open for visitors through this Sunday is the MN Sn'Ice Ice Palace on the Detroit Lakes City Beach, along with a plethora of lighted snow and ice sculptures in the City Park, where several trees have also been festooned with multi-colored lights. The outdoor poetry walk and adjacent ice maze at the park will stay open through the weekend, as well.

"The ice palace has seen a lot of people from all over the United States, of all ages," said Johnston, "and with this year being the biggest — and the longest — Polar Fest we've had, there's still things going on every day this week (weather permitting)."

As the 17-day festival heads toward its final weekend, here's a brief look at the remaining schedule:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 22: A "Polar-riffic" Takeout Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner, hosted by the Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club at the Holiday Inn Lakefront, with takeout meals prepared by the Holiday Inn and served by Noon Rotary members anytime between 4:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 23: Washington Square Mall will host The Polar Putt from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Putt from 3, 5 or 7 feet for a chance to win a variety of gift cards. No admission fee.
  • Thursday, Feb. 24: Tae Kwon Do Break-a-Thon, Washington Square Mall, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., hosted by the Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes School of Tae Kwon Do and Kumdo; Polar Glow Night, hosted by the Detroit Lakes Jaycees at the DL Pavilion, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and a Home Brew Tasting event, hosted by Bucks Mill Brewing at the Washington Square Mall from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 25: Laser Tubing After Dark, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, 5 to 8:30 p.m.; Welcome to Polaritaville, at Shorewood Pub, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., hosted by the Lakes Area Parrot Heads and Lakes Area Imagination Library.
  • Saturday, Feb. 26: Ice Harvest Exhibit, Detroit Lakes Pavilion, noon to 5 p.m., hosted by the Becker County Museum; the 26th Annual Polar Fest Plunge benefiting the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club, 1 p.m., Little Detroit Lake in front of Lakeside Tavern; and sending the festival out with a bang, Frozen Fireworks will take place at 7 p.m. on the ice of Little Detroit Lake.
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: Sno-ga in the Park, hosted by 180 Balance at Detroit Lakes City Park from 11 a.m. to noon; Snowshoe Sunday, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, 1 to 4 p.m., with a guided snowshoe trek starting at 2 p.m. on the Bear Paw Spur Trail; Sweetheart Sundae Dance, Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club, 3 to 6 p.m., hosted by the Miss Northwest Pageant, Historic Holmes Theatre and Detroit Lakes Jaycees.
Fire Circus.jpg
The Fandazzi Fire Circus put on a dazzling display of pyrotechnics — mixed with some acrobatics — at the Detroit Lakes City Park Bandshell on Feb. 12, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

This weekend will also be the final opportunity to check out the "We Love Minnesota" showcase of local breweries, distilleries and wineries at Seven Sisters Spirits; free samples will be served on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

"There are lots of fun photos and videos, and up-to-date event information, on the Detroit Lakes Polar Fest Facebook page ," Johnston noted; a full schedule of past and upcoming events is also online at .

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
What To Read Next
Get Local