Polar Fest celebrates 150 year Anniversary of Detroit Lakes

From frozen fireworks, to an ice palace, and a kite flying event Polar Fest is in full swing, and it continues to pay homage to the city's past of ice harvesting.

DETROIT LAKES, Minn.(KVRR) — The 26th annual Detroit Lakes Polar Fest is underway and this year marks the 150th anniversary of the cities existence!

This year brings more kites and fireworks than previous years.

“Well we encourage you to come down to Detroit lakes and check out all the events during polar fest. See our beautiful palace and Ice maze, there’s ice sculptures and lots going on here in Detroit Lakes all the time,” said Amy Stearns Executive Director, Historic Holmes Theatre.

From frozen fireworks, to an ice palace, and a kite flying event Polar Fest is in full swing, and it continues to pay homage to the city’s past of ice harvesting.

“The kite thing came to be in January during Covid a year ago when I was trying to figure out what could we do to make things bright and colorful in Detroit lakes. Last year we had four kite flyers, professional kite flyers this year we have 12 professional kite flyers out there with all their kites and it’s just beautiful to see all those kites coloring the sky,” said Stearns.

“At one time ice harvesting was the second largest industry in Detroit Lakes second only to timber. We’re talking like back in the 1930’s. That industry continued into the winter of ’71 and ’72, so fairly recently that was still happening in our area,” said Becky Mitchell Executive Director, Becker County Museum.

The Ice palace was a hit among visitors, sculptors worked over eight hours to build the structure and detail the exterior. The ICE cakes come from the lake.

Organizers say they still use similar tools from the ice harvesting days like a tram which is used to get the Ice Cakes out of the water and up to the shoreline to be able to build the palace.

“It really is nice to go sit up on that throne and take a good family photo, you’ll have your Christmas photograph ready to go for next year,” said Carrie Johnston Ice Palace Committee Member.

If visitors want a break from the cold they are welcomed into the Pavilion next to the ice castle.

“Here at the Pavilion you can see some of the artifacts that were used in the harvest industry back in the day so to speak, you can check out some of our own history from doing our own ice harvesting and ice palaces, starting back in 2018,” said Mitchell.

“We as Detroit Lakes love tourists, we love visitors coming to town, and what better time to come to town then in the winter bundled up, come enjoy,” said Johnston.

If you missed this weekend there will be more events going on through February 27th.



Categories: Community, Entertainment, Local News, Minnesota News