Ottertail is a small town that knows how to put on an impressive community event. One of the best examples is the success of the city's annual Otter Fest celebration.
"This is our 20th year of Otter Fest," says event organizer Kathy Wagenman. The dates for this year's festival are Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11.
Events begin Friday night with the Ottertail Rod and Gun Club's Annual Demo Derby at 7 p.m., followed by live music at the Hoot N Holler.
Saturday starts out with a pancake and sausage breakfast from 7:30-11 a.m. at the Ottertail Community Center. A car show will begin at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, vendors will be set up in the streets of Ottertail, displaying their wares at the popular craft fair.
At 11 a.m., plan to line up along Main Street to watch the parade pass through town. Area businesses and community organizations will send their colorful floats down the street, with plenty of candy and treats to pass out along the way.
Kids will enjoy the turtle races, held at 12:30 p.m., as well as the kids games, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. As soon as the parade is over, the carnival games will be set up.
Wagenman mentioned how last year's addition of the carnival games proved to be such a big hit that they decided to bring them back again. Horse and wagon rides also start after the parade, at 1 p.m. Bingo begins at 1 p.m., as well.
Those looking to try their hand at a game of skill should consider participating in the beanbag tournament from 2-5 p.m.
"This is brand new this year," Wagenman remarks. "We're planning to set it up on the street outside the community center."
At 3 p.m. a magician and the Runestone Rockettes will perform. The Runestone Rockettes is a dance group made up of energetic, young-at-heart dancers who are 60 years old and older. They rehearse a few times per week and perform throughout central Minnesota at fairs, conventions, community events and celebrations.
After a day full of activity, Otter Fest-goers are sure to have worked up an appetite. Everyone is invited to dinner at a hog roast/corn feed at 5 p.m. out in the street by the Ottertail Community Center.
Back by popular demand will be the annual Otter Idol talent competition. The first round of the competition will take place on Thursday, Aug. 9. Round one is held at The Otter Supper Club and Lodge, just off of Highway 78. Contestants of all ages and music styles will showcase their talent at 7 p.m. Registration for Otter Idol begins at 5:30 p.m.
The second round of Otter Idol will be held on the Saturday of Otter Fest at 3:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. that night, the final round will take place and one local singer will be awarded the title of this year's Otter Idol.
"This will be our finale of the night," says Wagenman.