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King Isbit’s Royal Courtyard & Palatial Playground

  • Public Beach, near Pavilion 104 West Lake Drive Detroit Lakes, MN, 56501 United States (map)

MN Sn’Ice: Because in Minnesota, Snow & Ice are so nice!

It’s true: there will not be an Ice Palace in 2019 or 2020. Our local builders, sculptors, and volunteers learned many new skills during the 2018 Ice Palace and they are ready to stretch their imaginations and their abilities to create more unique ice structures. (An Ice Palace will return in 2021.)

Plans for 2019 include King Isbit’s Royal Courtyard, Palatial Playground, an Ice Sculpture Competition and a Snow Sculpture Competition. Local artist, Hans Gilsdorf, has created a sketch of King Isbit’s Royal Throne – bigger, wider, and more intricately decorated for 2019. Lighting lessons were also learned, so expect the spectacular once the sun goes down!

The Grand Lighting will take place on Thursday, February 7th at 7pm. The lighting will coincide with the kickoff to Polar Fest!

Visit King Isbit’s Royal Courtyard & Palatial Playground located on the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive. King Isbit’s Throne and Royal Courtyard are on the DL City Beach and the Ice Sculpture Garden is “next door” in the DL City Park. You won’t be able to miss it!

Interested in Volunteering? Click on link.


Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 pm — Grand Lighting

Friday, February 8 all day and through February 18 — Professional Ice Sculptures will be on display beginning Friday, February 8th. An Ice Sculpting Competition is open to competitors, professional and non-professional alike. All competitors must be pre-registered. Click here for the Application & Registration: CarvingCompApp2019

Wednesday, February 13 all day — Local area high schools will create snow sculptures in the City Park. A friendly competition, the high school classes are encouraged to use their imaginations and all of the snow skills they have learned through a childhood of playing out in the snow! All Snow Sculpture Competition Teams must be pre-registered.

For more info and photos of the throne building, follow @IceHarvestDL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit

In 2018, Detroit Lakes built a palace for the loveable King Isbit, Polar Pete’s dear friend. King Isbit is the King of All Seasons for All Reasons in Detroit Lakes. Of course, there's a legend that goes with King Isbit!


A long, long time ago a young man went searching for adventure. He traveled to the East and it was shiny and coastal, but it didn’t feel like a place he could call home. He traveled to the West and discovered beautiful mountains, but again, he didn’t feel comfortable. Likewise, he went South and while the heat was nice for a while, it didn’t suit his personality. Others told him to try going North as stories of the great people of the North were abundant.  

He stopped in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The hustle and bustle of the Cities intrigued him, but he was drawn to the lakes and heard stories of bigger and more beautiful lakes farther north. And, so he kept adventuring northward in Minnesota. His travels led him to a place known as Becker County and he immediately fell in love with the beauty of the landscape and its bold and jovial people. 

One winter day while out exploring, he stumbled upon a clear stream leading into frozen Big Detroit Lake. He took this opportunity to bathe and play in the crystal water. A special resident of the area, Polar Pete, happened upon our young adventurer and with a hearty belly laugh, Polar Peter said “You are truly a spirit born of this area” and nicknamed him “Isbit” which meant ice cube in Polar Pete’s native tongue. 

Isbit and Polar Pete became close friends and immediately began to celebrate winter with the people of Detroit Lakes for 10 days. They enjoyed games and merriment in what came to be an annual event known as Polar Fest.  Over the years Isbit continued to inspire events and festivities in the area and embraced his new nickname.  He affectionately came to be known as King Isbit, the King of All Seasons for All Reasons. His many celebrations --  WeFest, Water Carnival, Art in the Park, Festival of Birds, Street Faire, to name a few -- continue to bring people from all areas to enjoy his beautiful home and joyous people. In fact, over the years, King Isbit’s costume has come to reflect all these festivals and is adorned with other aspects of his beloved lake town.

In honor of King Isbit’s dedication to the lakes area, the people of Detroit Lakes built him a proper palace for Polar Fest 2018 (February 8 – 19) made out of 1500 giant “ice cubes” and located on the beach of beautiful Little Detroit Lake.

The items on King Isbit’s costume represent many great events in Detroit Lakes:

  • Birding Festival, and the jay on the nest suggests spring is right around the corner. Also in Native American spiritual realm, the blue jay represents clarity and vision.

  • Polar Fest – pendant of Polar Pete

  • Water Carnival – the vial of water

  • Street Faire at the Lakes – sail logo incorporated into necklace

  • Shakespeare in the Park and the Historic Holmes Theatre – comedy and tragedy masks in necklace

  • Pine to Palm Golf Tournament – golf ball and tee pin

  • Poles ‘n Holes Ice Fishing Derby – ice auger

  • Art in the Park -- paintbrushes

  • WeFest – cowboy boot

  • Dick Beardsley Marathon/Young Life Triathlon – tennis shoe

  • Holiday Lights Parade – holiday lights in necklace

  • Ice Harvesting past and present – ice pick

  • Sailboats in crown – City of Detroit Lakes logo

  • King Isbit’s compass always points to the true north – Becker County!

  • The keys represent all the businesses, Native Americans and community people who come together to make these festivals and events happen.

  • King Isbit’s pocket watch is always mixed up with time/ the crazy amount of time it takes to make the festivals happen successfully and it’s cracked because planning events can make people both crack up and crack!

  • The candles represent all the long hours spent, planning, preparing and volunteering to make such events happen. (Exception being, the snuffed candle for St. Paul backing out on the harvest)

  • His pet Sunfish (Sunny) represents DL, the self-proclaimed “Sunfish Capital of the World.”

  • King Isbit is standing on an ice block because, of course, he loves ice!

  • The snowflake balanced in his hand represents the logo of the 2018 Ice Harvest and Palace

    There are 12 brass buttons exposed on his sleeves, representing the January 2018 ice harvest. “Ok, that one was just plain lucky on my part,” says artist Hans Gilsdorf.

Earlier Event: January 1
Polar Petey Melt
Later Event: February 7
Winter Shanty Beer Tasting