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DL Jaycees need members, volunteers for Water Carnival this year

With 254 volunteer slots available for the 2022 Northwest Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes, scheduled to kick-off on July 8, the Detroit Lakes Jaycees pushed event signups as well as seeking new members during their most recent meeting at Lakeside Tavern and Brewery.

April Asleson speaks about why she wants to become more involved with the Detroit Lakes Jaycees during a membership meeting for the Detroit Lakes Jaycees at Lakeside Tavern and Brewery in Detroit Lakes on May 5, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — With less than two months until the 2022 Northwest Water Carnival kickoff, the Detroit Lakes Jaycees are pushing for volunteers to sign up and help create a memorable event for the city.

During their most recent meeting at Lakeside Tavern and Brewery in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, May 5, the Jaycees told members to start thinking about which event they would like to help with, as they laid out the schedule for this year's Water Carnival. New events will include a sailboat regatta on July 9 and strong-person competitions, including arm wrestling and pulling the trolley, added into the Tug-of-War event on July 12.

"It's the camaraderie, the teamwork that we put into (the Water Carnival), and then seeing the event fold out and run smoothly for the community," said Drew Lessin, co-admiral for the 2022 Northwest Water Carnival, of what he enjoys about the Jaycees’ leading role in the event. "It's a huge, fun organization. A lot of the things we do go back to the community, which is a bonus for everything we do."

The 10-day summer annual culminates on July 16 and 17 with Bash on the Beach. This year, that two-day concert on the shore of Detroit Lake will feature the Fabulous Armadillos and Hairball on Saturday, and Troubadour and Eddie Montgomery on Sunday.

Lessin also said his favorite part of the Water Carnival is Family Day, which will be held in City Park on July 10 this year. Those family-focused events include a sidewalk chalk contest, turtle and frog races, ship building and racing, face painting, a sand castle building contest, and the four-legged fan favorite, the Puppy Plunge, featuring dock-leaping dogs flying more than 20 feet through the air.


One attendee of the meeting was a potential new addition to the Detroit Lakes Jaycees: April Asleson, who moved back to the lakes area recently from Las Vegas. She said she has fond memories of the summer event and was excited to volunteer to help out this year. She suggested a tie-dye event to be included during this year's festival, where anyone could bring a white shirt and the Jaycees could supervise and provide the dye. The details are still being worked out, but the group members in attendance seemed receptive to the idea.

"I needed an excuse to get out of the house," said Asleson. "I love volunteering and I've been a part of another Jaycees (group) when I was a student at St. Cloud State."

Asleson said she saw a post about the Jaycees meeting on a friend's Facebook page, adding that she usually never goes on Facebook anymore, so she took it as a sign to join her friend at the meeting.

Kasey Fetzer, a co-admiral for the 2022 Northwest Water Carnival, said the summer festival has something for everybody, and you don't need to be a Jaycees member to volunteer to help out at your favorite event.

The two co-admirals for the 2022 Detroit Lakes Northwest Water Carnival talk about the upcoming summer event during a membership meeting for the Detroit Lakes Jaycees at Lakeside Tavern and Brewery in Detroit Lakes on May 5, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"If you have it centered on one person's shoulders, this Water Carnival event, you don't get as great of ideas, like the one April gave us, you don't get that new thing, that part of it that brings more to the event than I could bring," said Fetzer.

She moved to Detroit Lakes from Thief River Falls about seven years ago and didn't know anyone in town, she said, but now, after joining the Jaycees and becoming more involved over the years, she feels well-connected.

"I know like so many people, I'm like a townie now," she said.

Fetzer added her favorite Water Carnival event is the water fights, which will take place on Wednesday, July 13, with competitors manning water hoses to move a ball attached to a line across to the other team's side.


"Just seeing the excitement of the people participating and the audience, and you just never know who's going to win," she said. "Just watching the town all cheer on these people, it's literally like you are in a movie almost. It's amazing small town love."

The Detroit Lakes Jaycees are a community focused, volunteer, nonprofit group whose members are between the ages of 18 to 40. Membership dues for the Jaycees are $45 for the first year and $90 per year after that. The funds are used for event programming and any leftover funds are donated back into the community through various charitable groups.

Anyone who would like more information about the Detroit Lakes Jaycees should visit their Facebook page or website for details on how to become involved with the group.

Photos from the 2021 Northwest Water Carnival

Multimedia News Lead Reporter
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