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Dishing up a tasty homemade meal, for a good cause: DL Breakfast Rotary's March 13 meatball dinner to benefit local food pantry

The Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary's Meatball Dinner draws big crowds to the M State cafeteria each year. The 11th annual event is set for this Tuesday, March 13 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Dressed in the club's bright blue shirts, Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotarians Dick Hecock (left) and Rick Michaelson prepared a pan of mashed potatoes to be served up with freshly made Swedish meatballs and gravy at last year's Rotary Meatball Dinner. This year's dinner is Tuesday, March 13 at the M State cafeteria, starting at 4:30 p.m. (Submitted photo)2 / 3
For the 11th straight year, Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotarians will be serving up a delicious hot meal of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy this Tuesday, March 13 at the M State cafeteria. This year's Rotary Meatball Dinner runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m., and takeout meals are available. (Submitted photo)3 / 3

Homemade Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy are once again on the menu for the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary's 11th Annual Meatball Dinner, which will be hosted by the local service club from 4:30 to 7 p.m. this Tuesday, March 13 in the cafeteria at M State Detroit Lakes (900 Hwy. 34 East).

For a suggested donation of just $10 per adult and $5 per child, area residents can enjoy a fresh, hot meal, served up by a group of smiling Rotarians in bright blue shirts.

"Take-out meals are also available," said organizer Tom Seelye, who is co-chairing the dinner with Heidi Mason this year.

"We usually serve right around 500 people, and about 150-200 takeout meals," he added. "We might not be as fast as McDonald's, but it's a very good meal — and the meatballs are delicious!"

Altogether, there are about 45-50 volunteers involved in preparing the dinner, including not just adult Rotarians, but high school Interact members, as well.

"The Breakfast Rotarians gather at M State on Monday to roll up the meatballs, with some help from M State cafeteria manager Duane Dunrud and his staff," Seelye said. "We also do some preparation for serving the community on Tuesday."

Besides the freshly prepared meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, each meal will include corn, ice cream (vanilla and chocolate) and a beverage (coffee, water or milk), said Seelye. All proceeds will benefit the Becker County Food Pantry — and because March is Minnesota FoodShare Month, the Food Pantry will receive a matching incentive for donations raised during the dinner.

"You get more bang for your buck that way," Seelye said, noting that the dinner itself usually raises about $1,200-$1,500 in net profits for the Food Pantry, with the club also contributing some additional funds from its coffers.

"It's for a very good, much-needed service in our community," he added.

The easiest way to get to the M State cafeteria, Seelye said, is to park in the lot on the far east side of the campus and go inside the doors on that side of the building.

"I've been chairing or co-chairing this event for five years now, and I'm always amazed at the generosity of our community in supporting this cause," he said. "We live in such an amazing and supportive community, and I'm thankful for that."

Coming up this weekend

• The Historic Holmes Theatre will host its annual Motion Fundraiser for the Arts on Friday, March 16. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, which is the following day, this year's event will have an Irish theme. Musical entertainment will be provided by 32 Below. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with music starting at 7 p.m. Appetizers, desserts, raffles, auction items and live musical entertainment by 32 Below are all included with the price of admission, which is $50 per ticket. Money raised will help the Holmes bring students to the theatre for live productions, and bring artists to nursing homes, schools and local events. Funds also help the Holmes bring performing artists from all over the world to Detroit Lakes. For more information, call the Holmes Box Office at 218-844-7469, visit the website at, or stop by in person at 806 Summit Avenue between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Country music star Jake Owen will perform live at the Shooting Star Casino, Hotel & Event Center in Mahnomen this Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40 and are on sale now. They may be purchased by phone at 1-800-313-SHOW (7469); online at; or via the "Buy Tickets" tab on Shooting Star's Facebook page:

• Local bars and restaurants including Brygge Taps & Tastes, Detroit Lakes American Legion, Hub 41, Lakeside Tavern, Northside Bar & Grill, Roasted Pub & Eatery and Zorbaz on the Lake are all joining forces to host a St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl on Saturday, March 17 starting at 5 p.m. Participation is free; each bar will have its own prizes and giveaways for people who complete the crawl. Free pub crawl punch cards are available in advance at all participating locations.

• Also on Saturday, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area will wind down its 2017-2018 winter season with the third annual St. Paddy's Day Pond Skim. Get your costumes ready and prepare to glide down the hill and across a custom-made pond to see who can get the longest skim. Contest will start at 1 p.m. and continue through 2:30 p.m. Call 218-844-SNOW or visit for details.

• The Detroit Lakes Lions Club will host a Battle of the Businesses Bowling Tournament on Saturday, March 17 from 4-8 p.m. at Voyageur Lanes in Detroit Lakes. Entry fee is $100 per four-person team; at least one member of the team has to be of the opposite gender in order to compete for the trophy. Proceeds will benefit local charities. Contact Brenda Beebe Wieland at 218-844-4221, ext. 112, or for details.

• The Lodge on the Lake (1200 East Shore Drive, Detroit Lakes) will be hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner from 5:30-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. Participants will have until the end of the night to figure out "whodunnit" and bring the "killer" to justice. The festivities begin with a 5:30 p.m. social, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $65 per person. Call 218-847-8439 for more information or to make reservations.

• The Holiday Inn Lakeside (1155 Highway 10 East, Detroit Lakes) will host a St. Paddy's Day celebration on Saturday, March 17, with specials on Irish nachos, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish-themed cocktails throughout the evening. Live music by Smoking Gun will start at 9 p.m. Call 218-847-2121 or visit for details.

• The Lakes Area Photography Show also continues at the Washington Square Mall from now through Sunday, March 18 during the mall's regular operating hours. Come in and see some of the best photography the lakes area has to offer, from some of its most talented shutterbugs. Free admission.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454