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'Winter Harvest' is in: New commemorative book on ice harvesting to be launched Saturday at BC Museum

Copies of the new commemorative book, "Winter Harvest" by Pippi Mayfield, will be available at the Becker County Museum starting this Saturday, Dec. 9. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Former Detroit Lakes Tribune editor Pippi Mayfield is the author of the new commemorative book, "Winter Harvest: A History of the Becker County Ice Industry." (Submitted photo)2 / 2

It's been more than 40 years since the last ice harvest took place in Detroit Lakes, but harvesting lake ice was a big part of Becker County's history for nearly a century — and now, it's the focus of a new commemorative book that will make its debut at the Becker County Museum, just in time for the holidays.

Written by former Detroit Lakes Tribune editor — and Frazee native — Pippi Mayfield, the book "Winter Harvest: A History of the Becker County Ice Industry" will be launched at a special "Meet the Author" book signing event set for this coming Saturday, Dec. 9 at the museum.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, area residents can come into the museum and learn more about the book and its author. Copies of the book will also be on sale for the first time — at a special holiday price of $12.99 per copy (cost will rise to $15.99 after Dec. 23) — and the author will personalize them with her signature at no extra cost.

"Those who can't be there on Saturday can also order signed copies to be mailed to them, though shipping charges will apply," says the museum's executive director, Becky Mitchell.

Starting this Tuesday, Dec. 5, call to reserve your copy at 218-847-2938, or send an email to The museum's regular hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Christmas Cookie Contest

In addition to the book signing, the museum will be offering special holiday-themed Family Day activities, also from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

"We will be having our third annual Christmas Cookie Contest, and families can come in and decorate their own Christmas cookies to bring home, for just 50 cents per cookie," Mitchell said. "The cookies for decorating will be purchased from the local bakery, and frosting and holiday decorations for the cookies will be provided as well."

For the contest, area residents are asked to bring in samples of their best-tasting and best-looking holiday treats, anytime before noon Saturday (the museum opens at 10 a.m.).

"We will be offering prizes in two different categories, and two age divisions," Mitchell said.

Prizes will be awarded for both Best-Tasting and Best-Decorated cookies, in the 15-and-under age division as well as for those age 16 and above.

"The judging will be done by a panel of independent judges," Mitchell said. Prizes will be awarded just before 1 p.m.

There is no cost to enter cookies in the contest, though normal museum admission prices do apply ($5 for adults who are not members of the Becker County Historical Society, or free to members as well as to all children under age 18).

Coming attractions

For those who have read the book "Winter Harvest" and would like to know more about the county's ice harvesting history, as well as anyone else who is interested in the topic, former ice harvester Arville Thompson of Detroit Lakes will be presenting this month's Brown Bag Lunch, "The History of Ice Harvesting," at the museum on Wednesday, Dec. 13, starting promptly at noon. Those interested can bring in their own lunch, or reserve a box lunch from La Barista for just $8 per person by contacting the museum no later than 10 a.m. on the day of the presentation.

"We will also be having Kids' Days at the Museum during the last week in December," Mitchell added.

Starting at 1 p.m. each day, Dec. 26-30, families can come in and enjoy board games, puzzles, scavenger hunts and other kid-friendly activities, such as exploring the kid-sized gingerbread house in the museum's lower level.

"Our gingerbread house won first prize in the Parade of Lights this year," said Mitchell," so we decided to celebrate by moving it off the float and into the museum for kids to enjoy.

"We will also have K'nex, Legos and Lincoln logs for kids (and adults) to play with," she added.

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