Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Celebrate the Northwest Water Carnival: Museum to kick it off with Wednesday's Brown Bag Lunch

The Becker County Museum's Northwest Water Carnival history exhibit includes a wide range of memorabilia from the carnival's 84-year history, such as this collection of swimsuits from the early 1900s all the way up to a modern bikini. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Calling all Northwest Water Carnival admirals, past and present! The Becker County Museum has extended an invitation to any who are available to come to the museum at noon this Wednesday, July 10, to participate in an informal, round table discussion.

This discussion will form the centerpiece of the museum's July Brown Bag Lunch presentation, which highlights "The History of Detroit Lakes' Water Carnival." The lunchtime discussion is free and open to the public, though if you would like to reserve an $8 catered lunch from La Barista, you must contact the museum at 218-847-2938 by 10 a.m. on the day of the event.

"They want me to talk about some of the things coming up this year, a little bit of history with the past admirals, and maybe a little bit of what we think the future is going to be," said Brian Anderson, who is serving as co-admiral for the 2019 water carnival alongside Matt Kelly.

Anderson accepted the invitation to lead this Wednesday's discussion, which will serve as the kickoff for the 2019 Northwest Water Carnival. Unless they've been living under a rock, most Detroit Lakes residents know that the 84th annual carnival gets underway this coming Friday, July 12, and continues through the Parade of the Northwest on Sunday, July 21.

The NWC is Detroit Lakes' biggest annual community celebration, and has been for more than three-quarters of a century now. To celebrate this fact, the museum has made room in its display cases for a collection that, according to museum programming director Emily Buermann, highlights not only the water carnival, but "summer water fun" in general.

"We have swimsuits ranging all the way from the turn of the century to the modern bikini," Buermann said. "We have men's one-piece suits and trunks, wool suits, cotton suits with built-in bloomers, old life jackets and fishing gear."

They even have one wool suit emblazoned with the words "Detroit Beach" that was once rented out to customers at the Detroit Boat Livery (now J & K Marina).

All of these displays will be ready for museum patrons to enjoy after the lunch is concluded (there is no admission fee charged during Brown Bag Lunch events).

In keeping with the water carnival theme, this month's Family Day activity is also focused on water activities.

"We're doing a Rain Gutter Regatta," said museum director Becky Mitchell.

On Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to noon, families can come in and make their own mini-sailboats, then race them against each other on the two rain gutter water tracks that will be set up inside the museum.

"Admission is $5 per family, or free with a Northwest Water Carnival button," Mitchell added. (Buttons will be on sale at the museum throughout the water carnival.)

The following week, July 16-18, the museum will be hosting its second annual Art Camp.

"We still have a limited number of openings," Mitchell said.

There will be sessions for two different age groups, she added. Sessions for older kids, ages 10-14, will run from 9 a.m. to noon each day, while sessions for younger kids, ages 7-9, will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

"We'll make a variety of art projects, using different mediums," Mitchell said, noting that the kids can take the projects home with them at the end of each day.

Cost to attend is $65, with all art supplies included. Call 218-847-2938 anytime between 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, to register.

Mitchell also noted that the museum has already begun working to promote its quest for a new building by launching a "Re-imagine Your Museum" campaign.

"We are challenging the people in this region to re-imagine our museum with us," she said. "We have placed a 'thought bubble' outside the museum where you can post your thoughts, take a picture, post it on social media and tag us (using #iambeckercounty, #reimagine, #newmuseum2021)... or come inside during our regular hours and have someone on our staff take the photo. We'd be happy to do it."

Those who post their photos online by July 15 will be eligible to be entered into a drawing for a free "Re-imagine" commemorative t-shirt from the museum. (Alternatively, you can just come in and purchase a t-shirt from the museum gift shop, as they just went on sale this week.)

The Becker County Museum is located at 714 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes. It is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

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