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'Water' you doing this weekend?: 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival takes over DL

A little girl shows off the tootsie rolls she found in the sand. Candy, coins and small toys were hidden on the beach for the Sand Treasure Dig. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)1 / 4
Hailey Jutz prepares to crown Alyssa Crum as Miss Northwest 2017. Crum is a 19-year-old from Owatonna, Minnesota. (Cassidy Ziegler/Tribune)2 / 4
There were a plethora of planes parked at the Detroit Lakes Airport on Saturday, and many more coming and going throughout the morning, as the Water Carnival Fly-In Breakfast drew big crowds. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)3 / 4
Preslee Barker, 6, and Nora Carivau, 7, pose with their arms around each other. Both girls agreed that their favorite parts of Family Day were watching the Pup Plunge and taking part in the Sand Treasure Dig. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)4 / 4

The 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival is underway in Detroit Lakes, sending waves of fun through the community.

The town has been awash with excitement since Friday, July 7, as the weekend kicked off with Kegs & Eggs with KFAN's Power Trip Morning Show & Common Man and the Miss Northwest Pageant, followed by the Fly-In and Pancake Breakfast, Beast on the Beach and a demo derby on Saturday. Sunday's Family Day celebration brought all ages to the City Park and the lake, while Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday hosted the Tee It Up for the Troops/Patriot Dogs Golf Tournament, Tug-O-War and the legendary Water Fights.

Although there are four days left of this year's Water Carnival--with a stream of exciting activities still to come--here's a look at the festivities that took place over the course of the first few days.

There's new royalty in town

By Cassidy Ziegler

As Miss Northwest 2016, Hailey Jutz, got ready to pass her crown on to someone else, she shed some light on what the new Miss Northwest can expect from her upcoming term.

"My advice for the next Miss Northwest is to enjoy the journey," she said. "This is an amazing community that is excited to welcome and support a new titleholder."

The 82nd Miss Northwest Pageant was held on Friday, July 7 at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes. Seven contestants competed for the title of Miss Northwest 2017, while four competed for Miss Northwest Outstanding Teen 2017.

According to Amanda Swanson, who will take over as pageant director next year, the Miss Northwest and Miss Outstanding Teen competitors participated in multiple categories, including an onstage question, a personal interview, a lifestyle and fitness portion, a talent portion and an evening gown portion. She added that the categories were weighted differently depending on the competition, however, and had some additional differences, too.

For example, Miss Outstanding Teen competitors are younger, she said, so they wear athletic wear instead of swimsuits. Miss Outstanding Teen candidates also answer their onstage question in their evening gowns, while Miss Northwest candidates answer theirs in more casual clothing.

The categories are chosen to help judges determine the well-roundedness of each contestant, Swanson explained, with each area of competition measuring a different aspect of the contestant's personality.

After all was said and done, the title of Miss Northwest 2017 was awarded to Alyssa Crum of Owatonna, Minnesota and the title of Miss Northwest Outstanding Teen 2017 title was awarded to Devyn Ullyott of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Crum is 19 years old and attends St. Cloud University, while Ullyott is 16 years old and will be heading into her junior year at Detroit Lakes High School.

"I'm shocked," Ullyott said following the event. "The were so many other good candidates and everyone could have been named the best. I was just so surprised that it was me."

She said that she's looking forward to gaining experience with the Miss America Association and that she's excited to get out into the community.

Crum, who said that her hometown does not have a summer festival, said that she's excited to attend the remaining Water Carnival events. She said that she's also excited to begin promoting her platform, which centers on internet safety.

"I was so extremely excited, especially because every girl was just as deserving," Crum said. "I can't wait to get my platform out in the light as we are such an advancing society as far as technology goes."

Fly-In draws big crowds

By Vicki Gerdes

It may not have been a record-breaking crowd that lined up outside the hangar at the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport for the Fly-In Breakfast on Saturday morning, but judging by the number of planes that were parked on the grounds, it was an unusually large one.

"This is a lot of airplanes — more than I remember seeing here in past years," said Fly-In volunteer Heather Sorum, who also serves as the secretary of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (one of the event's sponsors). "We've run out of room to park them."

Sorum said the annual event helps raise funds for local youth and aviation programs, both in the community and farther afield.

"We give money to the local Dollars for Scholars program, and this also supports our summer aviation camps at Oshkosh, Wis., and our Young Eagles flights, which take place in September," she added.

Exhibitors including the North Dakota Air National Guard and the Fargo Air Museum were also on hand; the latter offered the local airport the opportunity to borrow one of its airplanes, a replica of the "Dusty Crophopper" character from the Disney movie "Planes."

"We encourage kids to hop right in," she said. "It's a hands-on, functional airplane, so they can check things out."

The idea, Sorum added, is to encourage more young people to explore the world of aviation.

"A lot of our pilots will be retiring in the next 5-10 years," she said. "The kids in college (learning aviation) won't be enough to replace the retirees."

It's also a great opportunity for area aviation enthusiasts to show off some of the unique, custom-built projects they've been working on, Sorum added.

"We have some innovative engineering going on around here," she said. "There's one custom airplane here with a Mercury outboard (i.e., boat) motor in it, some who have used car motors, and even one who's built an electric airplane."

Local balloon pilot also brought his craft, the "Lucia Del Norte" (aka, "Lucy of the North"), to the airport for the Fly-In, and a lot of the early attention from the crowd was given to the eye-catching, colorful balloon.

"Lucia del Norte was named after my wife Lucy," Tollefson explained, adding with a twinkle in his eye, "I named 105,000 cubic feet of hot air after her, and she's extremely proud of it."

About halfway through the event, the balloon had to be taken down, however.

"We've been fighting the wind," Tollefson explained, noting that it's hard to keep a balloon on the ground in windy conditions, due to the difficulty of keeping the craft anchored — as the half-dozen volunteers who were helping him hold the balloon in place for visitors to take a peek inside could attest.

Tollefson and his ballooning partner, Dakota Diamond pilot John Boulger of Fargo, who recently took local radio personality Andy Lia up for a ride over Big Detroit Lake, said they are kept so busy with balloon trips that they don't need to do much advertising.

Nevertheless, they do have a waiting list, so anyone who is interested in scheduling a trip can contact Tollefson at 701-799-8668 or Boulger at 701-238-5415.

Families have fun-filled day

By Meagan Pittelko

From a family picnic and face painting to a watermelon feed and a magician, there was no shortage of family-friendly activities at the 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival.

This year's Family Day took place on Sunday, July 9, providing a day of activities for community kids--young, old and furry.

"My favorite part was watching the puppies jump," said Preslee Barker, a six-and-a-half-year-old from Detroit Lakes.

Preslee is, of course, talking about Family Day's Pup Plunge, at which dogs of all sizes and breeds leap from the dock on the city beach. The pups plunge into the water after their favorite floatable toys, while their owners watch hopefully from the dock to see how far the animal will jump.

"I liked that too," Preslee's friend, seven-year-old Nora Carivau, agreed. "But digging at the beach was my favorite. We found candy and money and toys."

The Sand Treasure Dig Contest was another popular feature at this year's Family Day, as children dug furiously through the sand in search of candy, coins and small toys that had been hidden by members of the Jaycees--and their parents stood on the sidelines, yelling words of encouragement.

Meanwhile, a few feet away, sand mermaids, castles and even a sand unicorn were being built by teams participating in the Sand Castle Contest and, across the city park, toddlers were getting ready to participate in the Toddler Trot.

Turtles were raced, old fashioned kids' games were played and crowds were wowed by a magician--and, by the end of the day, children were sleeping in their parents' arms, worn out by a long day of fun.

"This is our favorite weekend to be at the lake," said Sheri Triepke as she stood in a line for face painting, three children bobbing eagerly at her side. "Family Day is probably my favorite day of the weekend because there are a lot of good activities for the kids, which is really fun."

Check out for a full list of upcoming events, and check out page B2 in this newspaper for more photos from the Water Carnival.