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Ten days of frozen fun: Polar Fest is returning to Detroit Lakes Feb. 7-18

Will 'Rotary Man' be making a comeback for this year's Polar Fest Plunge on Feb. 16? Maybe, maybe not, but the popular fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes always brings out a slew of memorable characters. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 2
There may not be an ice palace to add to the atmosphere of the Polar Fest Frozen Fireworks on Feb. 16, but a brightly-lit new throne for King Isbit and other snow and ice sculptures are sure to make them just as popular this year. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 2

The start of Detroit Lakes' 2019 Polar Fest celebration is now less than a month away, and organizers are busy putting the finishing touches on the schedule for the 10-day winter festival, which runs from Feb. 7-18.

"The Frozen Fireworks over the lake, one of Polar Fest's signature events, are coming back, along with a lot of other old favorites, like Ice Tee Golf, the Freeze Your Buns Run, the Great Polar Race, the Polar-riffic Spaghetti Feed and the Polar-Palooza tubing races at Detroit Mountain," says Beth Pridday, who is co-chairing the 2019 event along with Jill Brandt.

"We also have a few new things this year," Brandt added, "such as the Polar Pileup, a winter demolition derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds, which is being hosted by the Detroit Lakes Jaycees on the afternoon of Feb. 16, and the Chocolate Fantasy at the Becker County Museum, where people can order boxes of chocolate for pickup or delivery on Valentine's Day, Thursday, Feb. 14.

"Hub 41 is also hosting a Beer Quaffing Contest, but the date for that is still being finalized," she added. (For more information on what 'beer quaffing' is, there is video of the world championship event available on both YouTube and Vimeo.)

There will also be some new twists on past events, such as the "Minne-Soda Hotdish Competition" set for Sunday, Feb. 10 at Grace Lutheran Church, which is entering its second year.

"They will have a dessert bar competition this year as well," Brandt said. "You can enter your favorite hotdish or dessert bar recipe — or both."

"The Historic Holmes Theatre will host both the Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance, which is another Polar Fest tradition, and the Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos show," Pridday added (visit for more information on those events). "And we have merchandise that's already available for sale, including long-sleeved t-shirts and Polar Fest decals, which can both be purchased at the Becker County Museum. All sales will go to help support future Polar Fest celebrations."

The Polar Fest Committee is also selling raffle tickets for $2 each, with the drawing set for this Thursday, Jan. 17 — the reason why the raffle is ending so early is because the prizes are all Polar Fest-related, Pridday noted.

Tickets are available for purchase at the museum, the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, or from Polar Fest Committee volunteers, she added.

"We're gearing up for 10 days of frozen fun for all ages, from kids to adults," Pridday said.

More events are still being added, Brandt said — and registration for any of the aforementioned events is also open. For more information, or to sign up (as a team or individually), please visit the official website at

"Some sponsorship opportunities are also still available, for businesses and individuals," Pridday added. "Anyone interested in a sponsorship can call me at 701-306-5438."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454