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Rotary readies for rose sale, Nov. 4-6 in Detroit Lakes

Every year since 1993, the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club has held a rose sale to help raise funds for local health, wellness and literacy projects. The 29th annual Roses from Rotary event is set for Thursday, Nov. 4 through Saturday, Nov. 6, at three different locations: DL Floral (inside the Washington Square Mall), the lobby of the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn, and the North Shore Travel Plaza.

Roses from Rotary 2021.jpg
The Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club is preparing to host its 29th annual Roses from Rotary rose sale, which opens on Thursday, Nov. 4 and continues through Saturday, Nov. 6 — or until the last dozen blooms sell out, whichever comes first. Locations for the rose sale this year are DL Floral, the lobby of the Holiday Inn, and North Shore Travel Plaza. (Submitted photo)
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Though roses are not exactly in season for local gardeners right now, dozens upon dozens of the fragrant blooms — in nearly every shape, size and color imaginable — will once again be available for purchase by Detroit Lakes area residents during the first weekend in November.

The Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club is preparing to host its 29th annual Roses from Rotary rose sale on Nov. 4-6, though there will be some changes in the event from last year.

"We cut back (on ordering roses) last year, due to COVID," said longtime Breakfast Rotarian Kathy Michaelson, who helps organize the annual event. "This year we bumped it back up, so hopefully we don’t run out so quickly."

Though the rose sale is set to run from Thursday, Nov. 4 through Saturday, Nov. 6, they're typically sold out well before Saturday morning comes around, so those hoping to purchase a bouquet or two — at a very affordable $20 per dozen — should make sure to either purchase an advance sale ticket from any Breakfast Rotarian, or show up early for the best possible selection.

New locations for this year's rose sale also became necessary, Michaelson said, because there is major road construction going on in front of longtime host Bergen's this fall.


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Detroit Lakes Floral has been one of the hosts for the annual Roses from Rotary rose sale for many years, and will also welcome sale customers this year, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 4-5 — as well as on Saturday morning, Oct. 6, if the roses don't sell out before then. (Submitted photo)

"We'll be at North Shore Travel Plaza and the lobby of the Holiday Inn from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at DL Floral (inside the Washington Square Mall) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days (Thursday and Friday), and then again on Saturday morning if we don't sell out," she said.

Colors for the roses range from the traditional red (still the most popular) to pink, yellow, white, orange, lavender and lime green. Customers can choose all one color, or a mixture.

"We will also have our lollipop bunches," said Michaelson, referring to a popular variant where customers can purchase a dozen roses, all in different colors.

People can come in and choose their own blooms, or pre-order them, Michaelson said; if they order from DL Floral, they can even choose to have a floral arrangement done and delivered to a specific address — for an additional charge.

All pre-sale tickets will be honored at DL Floral, she added, even if their initial rose order sells out.

In a typical year, the Rotary rose sale will bring in about $7,000, which is used to fund local literacy, health and wellness projects.


"All of the money is put back into the communities of Detroit Lakes, Audubon, Lake Park, Audubon, Frazee and White Earth," Michaelson said.

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Former Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz (second from right) was the recipient of the first dozen roses in the Breakfast Rotary Clubs first Roses from Rotary rose sale back in 1993. On hand for the presentation were Breakfast Rotarians (from left) Pat Furey, Lance Heisler, Ron Zeman, Gary Ask, Mayor Buboltz and Bill Super. (Ralph Anderson / Tribune file photo)

Roses retrospective

Conceived by Ron Zeman in 1993, Roses from Rotary — or Roses for Rotary, as it is sometimes called — has been the mainstay of the breakfast club's fundraising activities each year.

The concept of the rose sale was to offer hunters an early November opportunity to purchase roses for spouses and significant others as they went off to chase their deer. In recent years, it has also become a way for parents to honor students participating in the annual fall musical, which typically takes place on the same weekend as the sale.

Initially, the cost of the roses was just $10 per dozen; gradually, as supply and shipping costs rose, the price was raised to $20, where it has remained for more than a decade.

In the early years the roses were pre-sold, requiring much paperwork — and salesmanship — but that approach was abandoned as the club gained confidence that the project had earned an established place in the community calendar and traditions. The project continues to be one of the club’s most important fundraisers each year.

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