2021 Detroit Lakes Polar Fest Ice Palace Lighting Ceremony
CANCELED FOR 2021, see Polar Fest Ice Courtyard. Don’t miss the annual Detroit Lakes Polar Fest Ice Palace Lighting Ceremony on February 4, 2021 at the Detroit Lakes City Beach at 7:00 p.m. The Polar Fest festivities begin with the lighting of King Isbit’s Throne, Royal Courtyard and Polar Fest Ice Palace. A lot of planning and advance work go into creating this wonderland of ice. In January, huge ice blocks are hand-harvested from Detroit Lake. Over the next month, a volunteer crew will construct a Royal Palace fit for a “King Isbit”. Over the course of Polar Fest an Ice Palace evening light show and so much more will amaze and entertain. Come enjoy the snow and ice because it is so Sn’Ice! NOTE: Photo Credit (above): Jack Davis Photography
Professional ice sculptures will be on display in the nearby Detroit Lakes City Park starting the following day as a part of the MN Sn’Ice competitions. The second part, a snow sculpture competition for area high school students, will be held later in the event (check schedule).
Detroit Lakes City Beach
Corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive
Ice Harvest DL Face Book Page
Ice Harvest DL website
Phone: 218-847-2938 | Email: email@example.com
From Idea to Reality: The Denison Polar Fest Ice Palace
An idea was sparked by Ken & Helen Foltz while visiting the 2017 St. Paul Winter Carnival where they toured the St. Paul’s Ice Palace. Problems occurred with early plans that looked likely to doom the project, but after encouragement from local business owners and prospective sponsors, the Ice Harvest DL Committee embraced optimism and altered those plans. With the support of the City of Detroit Lakes, the foundation plans were moved to the DL City Beach. The DL City Park was made available for a Palatial Playground. The Pavilion was made available for a History Exhibit and warming house. New ideas and dreams began to sketch a new, crazy, bigger, better plan!
On the morning of January 11th, 2018, the wind chill was just about -35* below zero. A dedicated group of local volunteers and a professional lake ice cutting company, Wee Kut Ice, began the first DL harvest. For the next three days, they would work in the brutal cold from dawn to sunset. Due to the brutally cold weather, the ice was around 22″ thick. Each block being harvested was about 22″ x 44″ x 25″. About 1,300 blocks were harvested over three days, weighing in at a total of over one million pounds of ice. Construction of the Ice Palace began on January 17th, 2018. When the Palace was completed, work began on smaller ice structures such as couches, benches, and even a bookcase with a lamp; all carved entirely out of lake ice. Other ice blocks were used to create a border fence around what became known as the Palatial Playground. Ice was even used to build giant bonfire pillars!
The Grand Lighting took place on February 7th, 2018 as a kickoff event for Polar Fest. On February 18th, 2018, the Ice Palace was demolished. The clear, clean lake ice was absorbing the light of the sun every day and puddles were forming in the streets of Detroit Lakes. As a safety precaution, the Palace had to come down. The Ice Harvest DL Committee met again the next week and began to ask, “What’s next?” and has done that since. Be there for the lighting ceremony and get the answer to that question!
Volunteer to Help
There’s a lot of work that goes into the harvest, construction and demolition after Polar Fest ends – and that doesn’t include the “Palace Volunteers” needed during Polar Fest! See the Ice Harvest DL Committee Website or Face Book Page for more information, online forms, etc.
About Polar Fest
Polar Fest is held annually in mid-February with the plunge and fireworks on the Saturday night of President’s Day weekend. Polar Fest was started in 1996 by Erika Johnson, previous owner of Lakeside Tavern. She loved winter and wanted to see some sort of celebration of winter by the lake and outside her restaurant. Coincidentally, at the same time, Ron Zeman, former board member for Develop DL, heard about people jumping into a hole in the lake to raise money for an organization. He took that idea to the Boys & Girls Club and the “Polar Fest Plunge” was born. Polar Fest continued until 2002 when lack of support left Polar Fest with only its key event — the Polar Plunge, but no other activities. In 2005, a group of crazy, winter-loving citizens came together to reinvigorate and warm up Polar Fest. Since then, Polar Fest has continued with the pinnacle event being the Polar Fest Plunge into Little Detroit Lake plus many other activities ranging from golfing on the lake to presentations by polar explorers to dances in the sand. In 2008, fireworks on the last Saturday evening were added and that has become one of the highlights of the week-long winter celebration.
Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next Polar Fest Ice Palace Lighting Ceremony in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in February!
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