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Polar Fest ends with a bang – and a splash

Eric Lundmark cut quite a dashing figure as he plunged into the waters of Little Detroit Lake during Saturday's Polar Fest Plunge. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 4
King Isbit's Ice Palace was a memorable backdrop for Saturday night's Frozen Fireworks, a staple of Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest celebration. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 4
This scene from Saturday night's Frozen Fireworks over Little Detroit Lake almost resembled Disney's Magic Kingdom, with King Isbit's ice Palace serving as a picture-perfect backdrop. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)3 / 4
Rotarian Man — aka Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary member Dave Long — struck his best superhero pose as he plunged into Little Detroit Lake Saturday afternoon. He and his fellow Rotarians raised over $2,500 for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)4 / 4

A plunge into the waters of Little Detroit Lake, frozen fireworks and live music wrapped up the final weekend of Detroit Lakes' historic Polar Fest celebration, which included the unveiling of the largest ice palace the community has ever seen.

Saturday afternoon's Polar Fest Plunge brought out more than 120 plungers to raise over $25,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. Club director Pat Petermann, who served as one of the announcers for the event, also gave a "sneak peek" at the club's plans for building a new, $6 million facility, with construction hopefully to start later this year.

"We'll be announcing our capital campaign soon," he said to the large crowd gathered around the large hole in the ice where the plungers would dare the 32-degree temperature of Little Detroit to raise funds for DL's youth.

A kids' ice fishing derby hosted by the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association, a vintage snowmobile rally and swap meet hosted by Detroit Lakes' own ULTRA Snowmobile Club, snow angels and fat tire bike demonstrations in the City Park — where the "Palatial Playground" ice (and snow) sculpture garden and sledding hill also remained open throughout the weekend — wound up the day's festivities. The ice harvesting history display inside the Pavilion, hosted by the Becker County Museum, also drew a big crowd for its final day.

Saturday evening, Polar Fest's traditional Frozen Fireworks display was given a little added "oomph" by the changing colors of King Isbit's Ice Palace, where hundreds were gathered to enjoy the fireworks as well as one more chance to pose for photos with family and friends.

The evening's festivities wrapped up with the Polaritaville Dance at Hub 41, featuring live music from Matt Aakre, and a Gear Daddies concert at the Historic Holmes Theatre, featuring opening act The Billys.

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