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Pioneer Village group hopes to "Refresh the Fest" Aug. 16

The date is fast approaching for Perham’s 45-year-old Pioneer Festival, set for Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Pioneer Village.

Now under new management by the History, Arts and Cultural Association of East Otter Tail County (HACA), the public has unique opportunities to participate in this year’s event and give input on future festivals.

“We’ve condensed what was a weekend-long history, arts and cultural festival to one great day,” said Darla Ellingson, HACA CEO. “We’ll have many of the fun activities that people enjoyed before, and are opening the door to new ones.”

Some of the scheduled activities include running steam engines and sawmill, a kids tractor pull, music outdoors from the band shell, an old fashioned ice cream parlor and other food and beer for sale, a classic car show, a petting zoo, art demonstrations and sales and historic tours.

Adjacent black powder shooting demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the day, and an evening concert will take place inside the ballroom.

Have a local product or cause to promote? This year’s Pioneer Fest might be the vehicle.

“We are inviting businesses, clubs and organizations to participate this year at no cost, and they can keep their own sales proceeds,” said Ellingson. “We really want to see what interest there is from the region.”

Ellingson added that HACA is especially encouraging those who want to do a demonstration of arts or activities highlighting our diverse cultural heritage, including music, theatrical performances or food sampling. With community input, the group hopes that Pioneer Fest will grow again in future years.

The Pioneer Village includes 25 scenic acres within a 100 acre parcel border, located by the Perham Municipal Golf Course, baseball fields, a bike path and other recreational opportunities.

The village includes historic buildings and artifacts including Westby House, an authentic settler’s cabin. Indoor and outdoor venues are for rent on a first-come first-served basis for weddings, reunions and other events.

HACA took over management of the Pioneer Village April 1.

Pioneer Fest 2014 will have free admission, other than a nominal fee for the evening concert and dance.Call 218-346-7678 for more information.