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Decoy and collectible show coming to PACC

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Outdoor enthusiasts will flock to Perham from as far as Texas and New York for the 13th annual gathering of the National Fish Decoy Association's (NFDA) National Sporting and Collectible Show. The show runs Saturday, April 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Perham Area Community Center (PACC). Although the show features members of the NFDA, the public is invited to attend. Admission will be $5 for adults, $3 for teens, and kids 12 and under are admitted free.

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The NFDA, based in Frazee, is a group dedicated to the preservation of the historical folk-art of fish decoy carving, both for winter and summer fishing. Its members are involved with the promotion and education regarding the sport of dark house spear fishing, with the goal of sharing and gaining knowledge in many aspects of the decoy world. Specialties include 19th, 20th and modern century decoy carvers and their biographies.

"Flock" isn't a term generally associated with the migration of fish but Show Chairman Ron Osvold is quick to point out the event has much more to offer than fish decoys.

Visitors will be able to buy, sell and trade with artists and dealers specializing in carving, cabin art and décor, home furnishings, collectible and contemporary art, antiques and collectables spread out over 200 tables in the display area.

"There is nobody else in the country that has a show like this one," Osvold said.

On-site appraisals will be available.

Featured events include the Casey Edwards Gunning Bird Competition, Texas World Fish Decoy Carving Championship, and NFDA Awards Banquet.

The premiere event of the weekend is the John Jensen National Fish Decoy Competition.

Jensen began carving in 1938 when he was 9 years old. His fish decoys were hand carved with a knife and hand brush painted using oils. He was one of the last remaining carvers using traditional techniques. Jensen made more than 700 fish decoys during his career, averaging 35 decoys per year. Since his death in 2003, his decoys have brought in upwards of $5,000. The Smithsonian Institute displays his work.

"He was probably the best carver to come out of Minnesota," Osvold said.

The competition will include over 50 categories including fish, bird and duck. Judging will take place all-day Saturday among the 50 plus regional and national decoy and folk-art fish carvers. Awards will be distributed Sunday evening at an awards banquet at The Cactus.

Visitors will have a chance to register for a trip to Las Vegas as well a new boat. Concessions by the Lakes Lions will be available.

"This event is a big economic boost for Perham," Osvold said. "Most people come from 30 to 80 miles away. It would be great to see more local people show up."

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