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Making a splash!: Northwest Water Carnival reaches halfway point; water fights, bed races, concerts, parade still to come

This dog's ears weren't the only thing flying through the air during Sunday afternoon's Northwest Water Carnival Pup Plunge. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune) 1 / 17
Dogs of all shapes and sizes competed in the Northwest Water Carnival Pup Plunge, held Sunday afternoon at the Detroit Lakes City Beach. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 17
Thirty-year navy pilot Ted Kiebke of Detroit Lakes, right, shows a visitor the Mercury B-6 two-stroke 230 horsepower engine he modified to fit a rebuilt 1977 bi-wing airplane, at the airport Fly-In Saturday in Detroit Lakes. Nathan Bowe/Tribune3 / 17
A big crowd of spectators braved the heat late Saturday afternoon for the Northwest Water Carnival Demolition Derby at the Becker County Fairgrounds. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)4 / 17
Kids of all ages were literally digging for buried treasures Sunday afternoon at the Detroit Lakes City Beach, as part of the Northwest Water Carnival Family Day festivities. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)5 / 17
Saturday afternoon's Northwest Water Carnival Demolition Derby started off with the compact car division; divisions for full size cars, compact trucks and full size trucks followed during the popular event. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)6 / 17
Despite the heat, the Northwest Water Carnival Demolition Derby nearly filled the bleachers at the Becker County Fairgrounds Grandstand late Saturday afternoon. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)7 / 17
Sunday afternoon's Frog and Turtle Races brought out some serious competitors to the Detroit Lakes City Park. Many of the Northwest Water Carnival's Family Day festivities were held in and around the park. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)8 / 17
This little girl brought her turtle to the starting line for the Frog and Turtle Races at the Detroit Lakes City Park Sunday afternoon. This event is a favorite part of the Northwest Water Carnival's Family Day festivities for kids and adults alike. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)9 / 17
Miss Northwest 2017, Alyssa Crum, crowned her successor, Aurora Eckberg, at Saturday night's Miss Northwest Pageant in the Historic Holmes Theatre. Eckberg was also the winner of the talent and lifestyle/fitness portions of the competition. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)10 / 17
The rhubarb muffins sold out in record time Saturday morning at the Detroit Lakes farmer's market, which was mobbed with shoppers because of the Water Carnival. Nathan Bowe/Tribune11 / 17
Sunday afternoon's Pup Plunge brought out a total of 19 canines to the Detroit Lakes City Beach to demonstrate their ability to leap great distances — some reaching a distance of more than 20 feet from the end of the dock. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)12 / 17
This high-flying golden retriever was one of 19 competitors at the Northwest Water Carnival Pup Plunge, held as part of Sunday afternoon's Family Day festivities. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)13 / 17
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Miss Northwest 2018 candidate Madison Hagen strummed a ukelele and sang as part of the talent competition held during the Saturday night pageant at the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)15 / 17
Parents were allowed to help their children prepare the racers for Sunday afternoon's Frog and Turtle Races at the Detroit Lakes City Park. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)16 / 17
Newly crowned Miss Northwest Aurora Berg (center) and Miss Northwest Outstanding Teen Hannah Hagen enjoyed visiting with kids and adults during Sunday afternoon's Watermelon Feed at the Detroit Lakes City Park, which was the setting for a variety of Northwest Water Carnival Family Day events. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)17 / 17

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.

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.

Visit for more information.

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