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Phelps Mill Festival

Every summer, the usually tranquil Phelps Mill Park springs to life for the annual Phelps Mill Festival.

"We draw anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 people in a weekend," Teresa Brause said.

This year's event will take place on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10. The gates open at 9:30 a.m. both days, and close at 5 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

The arts and crafts festival has grown in stature over the years, drawing in countless thousands to the otherwise quaint Phelps Mill Park, located in Otter Tail County.

"We get people from all over," Brause said. "We have a great following in the area."

"All over" includes places as disparate as Bismarck, Minot, the Twin Cities, and Fargo.

To ensure that it remains a prestigious exhibition, the festival committee must be selective in the art it shows.

"We take the best of the art that is offered from the ones who apply," Brause said, adding: "not everybody that applies can be accepted.

"People are very proud that they're in the festival.

Part of the criteria for selection is that the artist must be present at the festival, "to be with the art or explain it to people who are interested," in Brause's words.

Also, all featured art must be completely original.

"We don't allow things that are market-type items or things that are representative of someone else's work," Brause said.

"We go for the quality that we have, rather than the numbers."

This year's event will face a unique challenge, since Phelps Mill is expected to be wet from the unusually high Otter Tail River.

The festival will be forced to move to higher ground: an adjoining parking lot.

"We're hoping everybody has patience," Brause said, adding that "its going to be an adjustment" to stand on asphalt instead of soothing grass.

"We're just going to do the best we can," Brause said.

In spite of the rough waters the Phelps Mill Festival has encountered this year, Brause assures the public that they should not expect anything less from the event than they have in previous years.

"I feel like we're going to have a very good show," Brause said.

Admission is $3. Parking is free.

For more information, contact Brause at 218-739-5377 or send an e-mail to -- Nathan Kitzmann