Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
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This weekend marks the beginning of Advent, a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming." At First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, the start of Advent also marks the beginning of a holiday tradition known as the "Advent Mini Concerts." "We've been doing it for more than 20 years now," says Holly Heisserer, who coordinates the mini-concert schedule for the church.
If Santa felt a little overdressed for the weather at last year's Grand Parade of Lights, he and his fellow North Pole visitors must have felt right at home on Monday night, as a chill winter wind swept through downtown Detroit Lakes for the official kickoff of the 2018 holiday shopping season. "Everyone seemed to stay huddled inside the stores until just before the parade started," said Parade of Lights co-chair Natalie Bly. "The attendance was down a little bit for our pre-party, but the streets seemed to fill up as the parade got going."
These days, most Detroit Lakes residents know Mary Haney as the director of the Detroit Lakes Public Library, a position she has held since Sept. 3, 2001. But the long time Detroit Lakes resident — her parents, Jim and Theresa Haney, moved to the community in 1961, when Mary was just seven years old — also had a legal practice here in town for many years.
Black Friday may be the official start to the holiday shopping season in most communities, but in downtown Detroit Lakes, the kickoff party actually comes a few days later, when Santa arrives in town for his annual Grand Parade of Lights. Set to take place this coming Monday, Nov. 26 at 5:30 p.m., the parade usually includes about 30 entries — though the final lineup isn't usually determined until the last minute, according to Chamber of Commerce President Carrie Johnston.
Every holiday season for the past five decades, an increasing number of local businesses and service organizations have hosted a uniquely decorated Christmas tree — bare at first, the trees quickly become festooned not with garlands and ornaments, but mittens, gloves, hats and scarves in every shape, size and color.
The Humane Society of the Lakes' biggest annual fundraiser is going Scottish this year: "Tuxes & Tails with Canines & Kilts" will take place this Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom in Detroit Lakes. The event starts with a 5:30 p.m. social hour and silent auction, and will be followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The dinner, which is being catered by Hub 41 this year, will include a selection of about a half dozen Scottish entrees to choose from, such as "Bangers & Mash," salmon and flannel hash and one vegan selection: Eggplant Parmesan.
While he has called the Detroit Lakes area his home for the past five years, Jack Chivers Realty owner Dirk Ockhardt spends a lot of time traveling — much of it with his 10-year-old son, Harry, who now attends school in the same Barnesville district where Ockhardt spent a year as a foreign exchange student in 1995-96. Born and raised in Germany, where his parents still live, Ockhardt is an experienced world traveler, though he has now put down roots in northwest Minnesota.
While the Friday after Thanksgiving is usually referred to as "Black Friday," in honor of the special early holiday shopping deals offered by area businesses, in Detroit Lakes, it's called "White Friday" — as in, the day set for the official winter season opener at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area.
Thanksgiving weekend is almost upon us, and while the Thursday holiday is one that's typically spent near hearth and home, enjoying a turkey feast with the family, there will also be a few opportunities to venture out into the community to experience some social interaction — starting with the "Burn the Turkey Trot," a 5K fun run/walk hosted by Anytime Fitness of Detroit Lakes. Set to get underway at 7:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, the run is designed to be a fun event for all ages — and even the four-legged members of the family are free to join in.
Since its inception three years ago, Detroit Lakes' Festival of Trees has been a steadily growing post-Thanksgiving holiday tradition. The third annual event, set to take place this Saturday, Nov. 24, will feature a total of 14 trees — up from 12 last year, and 9 the year before — all sponsored and decorated by local businesses. Each tree has a theme, many of which are quite unique and unusual.