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Decoy show flying into Perham

Larry Lange of Perham displayed his fish decoys at last year's Antique Sporting Collectibles and Fish Decoy Show held at the Perham Area Community Center.

It’s a sure spring is finally here, and the fishing opener’s not far away, when it’s time for the annual decoy show, The Gathering, at the Perham Area Community Center.

This year will mark the 17th annual event, where people buy, sell and trade fish decoys and other sporting and antique collectibles.

The Gathering will be going on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 6.

The coordinator is Rod Osvold, with the National Fish Decoy Association, based in Frazee.

“We’re excited with new dealers and vendors for this year’s event,” said Osvold in an interview late last week. “You know this is a big show when we’ll have 18 feet of trophy whitetail horns. That’s approaching half a semi-load.”

All of the antlers, along with skull mounts, will be for sale. The display will include small horns for crafters, up to some monster Boone ‘n Crocket racks for serious collectors.

Larry Lange of Perham, a longtime decoy carver and hobbyist, takes pride in this annual event, which is billed as the Midwest’s largest sporting collectible show.

“It’s a great time for carvers such as me,” said Lange, “and there’s so much for people to see. Over the years we’ve had some awesome vendors selling vintage decoys, fishing lures, artwork, and you name it.”

Carvers also get the chance to meet one another, and form friendships, through their participation in the annual show.

Spearing decoy carvers come from near and far. This year, in addition to Lange and others from Otter Tail County and nearby counties, decoy carvers will include Lyle Juarie of Brainerd, Minn., Jared Sypnieski of Monticello, Minn., and others from the Upper Midwest.

Items on display this year will be many and varied. Among them will be ice saws displayed by Minnesotans Wayne Benbow of Winger, woodworking kitchen items featured by Richard Brenner of Parkers Prairie, Amish handcrafted items on display by Emmanuel Byler of Osakis and handmade wool items by Marsh and Joyce Frings of Grand Rapids.

With thoughts of the upcoming fishing opener, attendees will also get close looks at the latest fishing rods, tackle and gear.

Carving tool vendors will include Herb Johnson of Timbers Edge Resources of Nisswa, Minn.

The Minnesota Fishing Museum, based in Little Falls, Minn., will also have a display at the show.

Handmade and unique birdhouses will be displayed by Gil Odegard of Evansville, Minn. Coming from the nearby community of Brandon will be knife-maker Jeff Plaster.

The decoy show attracts both men and women who enjoy hunting and fishing. Attendees also will see displays of scented candles and jewelry.

The National Fish Decoy Association Awards Banquet will follow the show on Saturday at The Cactus. Decoy carvers will be judged on decoy swimming performance, craftsmanship and artistic merit.

For more information about the show, contact Rod Osvold at 218-841-3566.

$3,000 in prizes

As part of The Gathering, local merchants have put together more than $3,000 in prizes, including two different packages to Minnesota Twins games and 10 large fish plaques from local artists.

People may register at most merchants in Perham. Fish decoys are on display at Mark’s Fleet Supply, Richter’s Men’s Wear, Hometown Repair and Ma’s Little Red Barn.