The final weekend of the 2018 Northwest Water Carnival is just a couple of days away - but there's still plenty of time to catch the wave and make a splash!

One of the water carnival's signature events, the Water Fights, get underway tonight (Wednesday) at the Detroit Lakes City Park.

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Competitions for both kids and adults will take place, with water hoses provided by the Detroit Lakes Fire Department. The junior contest gets underway at 5 p.m., with the adult water fights to follow at 7 p.m. There will be an ice cream social held in between the two competitions as well, at 6 p.m.

Over on nearby West Lake Drive, one of the community's favorite summer pastimes, Cruise DL Night, will take place from 4 to 8:30 p.m. tonight. Area residents who want to show off their vintage vehicles can shine them up, drive them on down to the beach and park them along West Lake Drive until they're ready to go home. There will be music playing throughout the evening, and lakeside restaurants will be open for dining as well.

Thursday, July 12 will feature bingo at the Pavilion, a Lovin' the Lakes Tippy Cup Party at the Holiday Inn and a Home Brew Beer Tasting Contest at Zorbaz.

Friday will bring another new event for this year's carnival, a Rock Climbing Wall sponsored by the Army National Guard, which will be set up in the city park from 2-7 p.m., and helicopter rides departing from Kent Freeman Arena starting at 1 p.m. For the more adventurous flyers, Skydive Fargo will be offering tandem skydives at the Detroit Lakes Airport starting at 5 p.m. All three of these events will continue on Saturday as well.

Friday also features the opening games of the American Legion's annual Water Carnival Baseball Tournament, which gets underway at 10 a.m. and continues through Sunday (see today's sports section for a complete schedule of games). Inflatable "Games to Go" will be set up at the city park from 3-9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday. At 6 p.m. Friday, another water carnival tradition, the Bed Races, get underway in the City Park parking lot.

The increasingly popular Bash on the Beach has been expanded this year, with not just one, but two nights of live music on Friday and Saturday, July 13-14. Due to the pontoon traffic on the City Beach during this event, the swimming buoys along the beach will be removed on Friday at 5 p.m., with no public swimming allowed in that area until the buoys are replaced on Sunday.

Beach-centered activities on Saturday, July 14 also include the annual Chili & Salsa Cook-Off, with registration taking place inside the Pavilion just before the start of the competition at 8 a.m. The public will be able to purchase samples of the cooks' chili and salsa entries starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be a bean bag tournament and sandcastle building competition on the beach, starting at 11 a.m. and noon, respectively, and a pet show starting at 10 a.m. in the park, as well. For the adults, there will be a Classic Car Show in the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there will also be a Family Picnic starting at 11 a.m.

Other Saturday events include a 5K/10-mile Fun Run starting at 9 a.m. in the City Park, with registration getting underway at 8 a.m. inside the Pavilion; a Pet and Doll Parade stepping off from the Holy Rosary Catholic Church parking lot at 9 a.m.; and plenty of softball, baseball and sand volleyball action throughout the day, taking place at Snappy Park, Washington Park and Peoples Park, respectively.

After Saturday night's Bash on the Beach concert, the Water Carnival begins to wind down on Sunday, July 15, with only a handful of events on the schedule: The Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast at the Pavilion starting at 8 a.m., the Parade of the Northwest through downtown Detroit Lakes starting at 1 p.m., and the Water Ski Show on the City Beach starting at approximately 3 p.m. There will also be skydiving at the airport and the conclusion of the Legion baseball tournament at Washington Park.

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