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Prairie Fun Day set for July 20 at Hamden Slough

Marlene Craik, a volunteer with the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, enjoyed hanging out with some of the kids at a past Prairie Fun Day. This year's event is set for Saturday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hamden Slough. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Adopting a monarch caterpillar (on the stick in her hands) to take home with them brought big smiles to the faces of these Prairie Fun Day participants. (Submitted photo) 2 / 2

Prairie Fun Day is returning to Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, July 20.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, this full day of fun, free activities for the whole family will include birdhouse making, face painting, a guided nature walk, native plant potting, fun with monarch butterflies and more.

In between all of the indoor and outdoor fun, a lunch featuring a choice of pulled pork sandwiches or hot dogs will be served inside the education building at Hamden Slough, which is once again serving as headquarters for the event.

"Everything is free, including the lunch," said Suzanne Borstad, one of the organizers of the event.

Detroit Lakes WMD Manager Ryan Frohling and Friends of the DLWMD volunteer Steve Midthune will be leading two guided nature walks, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Friends volunteer Ray Blaha will once again be manning the monarch butterfly booth.

"He brings along all of his butterfly education materials," Borstad said, noting that the display is kid-friendly, as are all of the activities held during Prairie Fun Day.

"Once again we're putting the spotlight on monarch butterflies," she said, adding that Blaha's booth is one of several butterfly-oriented activities planned.

Another activity will involve going out onto the Hamden grounds and finding a monarch caterpillar to adopt and bring home and watch its development into a butterfly.

"This year we'll also be constructing pine cone bird feeders and bird houses, potting native plants, and there will be lots of games for the kids," Borstad said, adding that some students from Concordia College will be coming out to help them with the kids' games.

There will be environmentally themed prizes for the game winners, as well as some door prize giveaways for all ages.

As are all the activities at Prairie Fun Day, the prizes will be "kid-friendly," Borstad added.

"The whole day is geared toward kids and families," she said.

There is no cost to attend. For more information contact Borstad, 218-849-9750, or Nancy Henke, 218-234-5680.

Also this week

Detroit Lakes' biggest summer festival, the 84th Northwest Water Carnival, opened Friday, July 12, and continues through Sunday, July 21. Some highlights of this coming week's festivities include bed races on Monday, tug-o-war on Tuesday, water fights on Wednesday, a home brew contest and beer tasting on Thursday, Bash on the Beach concerts both Friday and Saturday nights, and the Parade of the Northwest on Sunday afternoon. A complete, downloadable schedule of activities is available at

A special summer concert featuring Memphis & the Meantimes will be held at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes this Wednesday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. Led by Holmes Theatre favorite Mick Sterling, this eight-piece band will perform music from the heyday of the Grand Ole Opry and Sun Records, including songs by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis,

Roy Orbison and more. Tickets are $28 for adults, $14 for students, and can be purchased online at, by phone at 218-844-7469, or in-person at the Holmes Box Office, 806 Summit Ave.

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