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Snellman Days: A weekend full of area activities awaits

Though the first day of autumn officially falls on Sept. 22, most people consider Labor Day to be summer’s last gasp.

As such, there’s a full slate of activities taking place in the lakes area next weekend.

For roughly a decade, the tiny community of Snellman has chosen the Labor Day weekend for its annual Snellman Days celebration — and this year is no exception.

Snellman Days will take place next Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31.

According to event coordinator Aune Longfors, the event draws around a thousand people each year, which is quite a feat for a community that only boasts a handful of permanent residents.

“This is really kind of a reunion for us,” she explained. “Everybody comes home for that weekend. You see people walking around with coffee cups, catching up with each other.”

But of course, there’s more going on than just socializing. In fact, the celebration has grown significantly through the years.

“I have a committee this year,” Longfors said.

That committee has been hard at work planning a full slate of activities, from a flea market, rummage sales and fresh produce stands to roasted corn, ice cream floats and cones and fry bread for sale (the fry bread is available on Saturday only).

Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Snellman will be starting things off with a Saturday morning brunch from 8 to 11 a.m., and there will be bingo at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — “with 100 percent payback,” Longfors said.

Another bingo session takes place at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Kids’ games will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on both days, with a bucket toss, sack races, coloring contest and more.

Aspiring singers might want to try their hand at karaoke, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday only.

But that’s not all.

Saturday’s festivities will include a drawing to crown Snellman’s new mayor for 2014-15.

“It’s a one-year term,” Longfors said jokingly, noting that no actual duties come with the title, which is strictly honorary and often comes with quite a bit of ribbing.

All ages are welcome to enter the drawing, with a fee of $1 per entry. The drawing takes place at noon.

There will be no watermelon feed or hot dog eating contest this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of food. Roasted corn, ice cream floats and cones will be available for purchase on both days, and there will be fresh fry bread on Saturday.

The ladies of Gethsemane Lutheran will be serving up free bottled water while supplies last, and “the Wolf Lake Ladies Auxiliary will have their lunch wagon there Saturday and Sunday,” Longfors said.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, sloppy joes, chips and beverages will be on sale.

The VFW Auxiliary will also be offering a raffle drawing on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The drawing will include cash prizes of $150, $100 and $50 as well as two quilts — one king size, and one queen size — that were hand-stitched by the ladies of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Snellman, then purchased by the VFW Auxiliary especially for the raffle.

All in all, the weekend promises to be a fun one for Snellman residents past and present — as well as anyone else who wants to join in the celebration. For more information, please call Longfors at Aune’s Kauppala, 218-573-2520, or at 218-841-4727.

Other festivities

Labor Day weekend is also known for the annual Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion at Rollag, which is entering its 61st year. The festivities open Friday and continue through Labor Day. See today’s entertainment page for details.

The annual Laddie’s Loppet mountain bike race also takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Maplelag Resort, near Callaway.

Laddie’s Loppet is a mountain bike stage race held every Labor Day weekend at Maplelag, which has been hosting the race since 1990, making it one of the oldest mountain bike races in Minnesota.

Saturday’s racing includes a time trial and short track, and Sunday’s racing features the main event, cross country racing. The event is part of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. The race is named after the resort’s beloved dog, Laddie (now deceased). This is a great event for the whole family with races and age categories for every type of rider. Laddie’s Loppet was named race of the year of the Series in 2012 and 2011. Note: Canadian riders are now able to race without any extra license requirement. For more information, contact Maplelag Resort at 1-800-654-7711 or 218-375-4466.

The Lodge at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area will be hosting an open house for the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Come catch an early glimpse of the facility in advance of its official November opening. Call 218-844-SNOW for more information.

The Shady Hollow Flea Market, Artisan Fair and Farmer’s Market will be open throughout the weekend, and the Lakes Area Farmers Market will be open at the Peoples Park in Detroit Lakes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be live music at several locations throughout the weekend. On Saturday, Richwood Winery will host a performance by Dave Rosenfeldt from 4 to 7 p.m., while the Q5 Band will rock the Holiday Inn Beach Bar from 9 to 11 p.m. On Sunday, all area musicians are invited to participate in a jam session at the Historic Holmes Theatre from 2 to 5 p.m. Call 218-844-7469 for more information.

On Sunday, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting a movie about “The Civilian Conservation Corps” at 2 p.m., with a tour of the Refuge’s original CCC Camp to follow. And of course, the Refuge itself is open for hiking and road tours, not to mention testing your photography skills (the annual Tamarac Photo Contest is still seeking entries through Sept. 14).

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 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.

(218) 844-1454