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Photo courtesy of the NFDA More than 100 vendors will be presenting their wares at The Gathering April 22-23 at the Perham Area Community Center.

World's largest fish decoy show returns to Perham

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The world's largest fish decoy show, along with the largest antique sporting and collectibles show in the upper Midwest, is returning to Perham April 21 and 22.

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Featured events include: the Sporting Collectibles Show on Saturday and Sunday, the John Jensen National Fish Decoy Contest, Casey Edwards National Gunning Bird Contest, Texas Worlds Fish Decoy Contest, lurepartsonline.com Hand Made Lure Contest, National Fish Decoy Association (NFDA), Worlds Point Series Contest, and the NFDA Awards Banquet.

The show, featuring around 100 vendors, is so big that the Perham Area Community Center is one of the only places large enough to house it. The Gathering consists of 10,000 square feet of antique sporting collectibles, artwork, decoys, folk art, Hamm's Beer collectibles, and lots and lots of home and cabin décor.

Coordinator Rod Osvold said initially they thought about having the event in a larger city like St. Cloud or Minneapolis, but because of the PACC and the rest of the community, Perham was a perfect fit.

According to Osvold, the show is for outdoor enthusiasts as well as for those who simply love the north woods look. It doesn't have to be someone interested in carving or fishing. The outdoor enthusiast will appreciate the custom rods and specialized boat anchors and those who are into home and cabin decor will appreciate Bev Lusty's pheasant feather creations, birch bark pieces created by an artist from Bakus and Casey Edward, who is a folk artist from Wisconsin who specializes in cabin décor (to name a few).

Osvold said while the attendance from the public has been up and down over the years, he knows the event is growing in popularity from the number of decoys entered into the competition. About 700 decoys were entered in this year's competition, as compared to around 100 the first year.

"If you're going to make a name for yourself in carving, you've got to come to Perham," said Osvold. "That's how much we've grown."

Annually over 70 carvers from five states converge to compete in more than 50 different classes of fish and bird decoys. The classes vary from airbrush, hand painting, folk art, decorative working decoys and Junior Divisions. Carvers compete for cash and recognition awards, which are presented at the annual Awards Banquet held at The Cactus.

The show is open to the public on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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