The annual Lakes Area Home and Cabin Show is coming up again in Perham - this year with free admission and a special guest star.
Matt Brickman, the co-host of WCCO-TV's Saturday Morning Show and the station's weekend Weather Watcher, will be at the home show, visiting with people and broadcasting live on site.
Brickman is widely known for his "Best of Minnesota" series, for which he travels all over the state to check out the things his viewers say are the best around - from the best donut (in Winona) to the best holiday lights (Duluth).
Yet for all his traveling, this will be Brickman's first time in Perham.
"Perham is one of the few parts of the state we haven't been to yet," he said in a telephone interview last week. "I'm looking forward to checking out that area."
He'll have WCCO's state-of-the-art Mobile Weather Watcher with him at the home show.
"I can basically go anywhere and produce a weathercast from the tailgate of the truck," he said of the Mobile Weather Watcher's capabilities. "It's kind of neat. It frees us up a little bit and allows us to go out and give a legitimate weather forecast from the field."
The home show will be held at the Perham Area Community Center on Friday, March 8 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Brickman will be broadcasting live at the show for his 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday newscasts, as well as the Saturday morning 8 a.m. newscast.
"We'll be there most of the day on Friday and again on Saturday morning," he said. "There will be the two live shows, but apart from that, we're just going to be hanging out and saying 'hello' to folks. We'll be talking about the home and cabin show and doing the weather from out there."
"For the Perham Chamber and all its members, WCCO being at the show is a great deal for us, because it goes hand-in-hand with all the marketing we do with them all year long," said Dan Schroeder, executive director of the Perham Chamber. "It's really a big deal for us. They cover so many millions of people, and we're trying to spread the word, trying to get more people to come to Perham."
The home show will offer people plenty of reasons to come to town. In addition to Brickman's visit, there will be about 100 home and sport vendors displaying their products, fishing seminars, dance and taekwondo demonstrations, food, Perham Bucks giveaways, face painting and finger printing for kids, and much more.
Unlike in years' past, there will be no cost for admission. Donations for the Perham Food Shelf are encouraged, but not required.
Scheduled events on Friday begin at 6 p.m. with live entertainment by the band "Generation Gap" in the PACC's multi-purpose room. A $100 Perham Bucks drawing will immediately follow the show, at 8 p.m. From 8 p.m. until close, The Cactus will be hosting a beer and wine sampling, with live entertainment by Sophie Thiel.
On Saturday, the schedule of events starts with a pancake breakfast by the Masons. Held in the multi-purpose room of the PACC from 8-11 a.m., the breakfast is available for a free will donation. Part of the proceeds will go to Someplace Safe in Perham.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., fingerprinting will be available for kids, sponsored by the Perham Police Department and East Otter Tail Daycare Association.
The PACC will offer free swimming for kids from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and again from 1-3 p.m., thanks to a donation from the Perham Lions.
Fishing seminars by Hoot's Sports and Lund Boats will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dancers with the local Just For Kix program will give demonstrations at noon and 1 p.m., and there will be a taekwondo demonstration at 2 p.m.
A $100 Perham Bucks drawing will be held Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Throughout the show, Taste of Perham will be set up at the Rotary Booth in the lower gym, and the Perham Lions clubs will be serving concessions in the lobby.
The Minnesota DNR will have an educational trailer set up, and some Perham High School students will be displaying the motorcycle they're building with Lil' Evil Inkorpor8ted for an upcoming custom bike competition.
All proceeds from the show benefit the Perham Chamber and PACC. Show sponsors include Esser, The Cactus, Ottertail Home Center and Mark's Fleet Supply.