The 82nd Annual Northwest Water Carnival brought physical challenges to Detroit Lakes this week, with the annual Tug-O-War taking place on Tuesday night and Water Fights soaking the streets on Wednesday night.

Even after a busy and exhausting week, lakes area residents are still looking forward to Bed Races, an early morning 5K, sand volleyball and bean bag tournaments, a parade and--of course--Frankie Ballard's performance at the Bash on the Beach this Saturday night.

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Tuesday night's Tug-O-War competition featured three divisions in humid temperatures at the Pavilion, with new and returning teams competing for the title of Tug-O-War champs.

In the kids' division, The Dinger Club defeated the team from Dion's Dangerzone Gym.

Anytime Fitness Two captured the women's division title and the team from J+J Concrete of Detroit Lakes won a tough battle against Lakeshirts in the men's final.

According to Liz Warling, a member of the winning Anytime Fitness team, the best part about this year's Water Fights competition was getting to have a second shot at the title.

"This is our second year and, with the exception of one member, we have the same team," she said. "So, it was great having the same members as last year and coming back to win."

Water Fights

Despite the rainy, chilly weather Wednesday evening, there was still a strong turnout of people for the annual water fights.

"It doesn't matter about the weather for this event, we always have a beautiful crowd," said Kate Spaeth, Detroit Lakes Jaycee. "People get so excited for this event, and they love to come to it."

So how does this water fight work? It starts with a cable suspended between two trucks approximately twenty feet off the ground. A ball is placed in the middle of the cable, and the goal is to spray the ball all the way to the opposing team's side using a fire hose.

The cable, ball, and trucks are provided and set up by Schultz Garage each year. The hoses are provided by the Detroit Lakes Fire Department.

"It's a lot harder than it looks, trust me," chuckled Spaeth who had competed in the water fights once before, and again on Wednesday evening.

Each team was allowed up to six members, said Spaeth. There was a 40 dollar fee per team with winners receiving a trophy and, of course, "bragging rights," joked Spaeth.

This year, 24 teams competed in the water fights, which according to Spaeth is average. The first place title went to the I'll Tile & Stone team, second to the American Legion team.

"We are jacked up and having a great time," said Troy Fingalson, a member of the I'll Tile & Stone team, "We want to thank the Jaycees for all their hard work putting the Water Carnival together."

Brew contest winner claims double victory

The Home Brewing Contest held at Zorbaz Thursday night brought 10 entries from area homebrewers for judging and public tasting, plus around 30 area commercial brewers, who each brought several varieties of their product for attendees to sample as well.

After more than an hour of tasting and examining, the panel of six judges (including Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk) awarded first place to Detroit Lakes' own Steve Erickson, whose take on India Pale Ale (IPA) also proved to be the favorite of Water Carnival attendees: Erickson was the recipient of the "People's Choice" award as well.

"Everyone agreed on this one," said the event's master of ceremonies, Kyle Imholte.

Second place winner was Walker Martin's Orange Wheat Ale. In honor of his big win, Erickson will get to have his IPA recipe brewed at Detroit Lakes' Tavern Brewery. The winning brew will also serve as the Admiral's Ale for the 2018 Northwest Water Carnival.


Carnival winding down

Although most of the 82nd Northwest Water Carnival events have now come and gone, there are still a number of events hitting the streets - and sand - of Detroit Lakes this weekend.

Saturday is a full day, kicking off right away in the morning with the 5K Fun Run scheduled to start at 7 a.m. The annual Chili and Salsa Cook-Off starts at 8 a.m. at the Pavilion, with the tasting set for 11:30 a.m., the Sand Volleyball Tourney at 10 a.m. and the Bean Bag Tournament at 11:30 a.m.

The morning will also be host to a variety of kids' activities, including a 9 a.m. pet show, the 10 a.m. Pet and Doll Parade, a family picnic at 11 a.m. and inflatable games in City Park starting at noon.

On Saturday night, the Water Carnival will culminate in, arguably, the largest event of the week: the Bash on the Beach. This year's bash will feature music by Frankie Ballard. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion, with Ballard taking center stage at 9:30 p.m. The event is open to ages 21 and up and tickets at $30 per person.

Sunday starts with the KC Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by the Parade of the Northwest at 1 p.m. The parade steps off in front of the Chamber of Commerce building on Summit Avenue, proceeds east on Front Street to Washington Avenue, then moves south to West Lake Drive, ending just west of Zorbaz.

The final event of the 82nd Northwest Water Carnival is the Water Ski Show, which takes place at 3 p.m. at the City Beach.