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This year’s decoy show to be even ‘bigger and better’ than the last

The National Fish Decoy Association’s annual Sporting Collectible Show, also called “The Gathering,” will be held at the Perham Area Community Center this weekend. File photo

The National Fish Decoy Association’s annual Sporting Collectible Show, coming up Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14 at the Perham Area Community Center, is much more than just a fish decoy show.

“Every member of the family, including moms, dads, sisters and brothers will find something they’ll enjoy,” said the show’s spokesperson and chairman Rod Osvold. “Each year, this show gets bigger and better.”

Admission for the show, which is also called “The Gathering 2013,” is $6 for adults, $3 for teens, and kids 12 and under are admitted free. The hours at the community center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Raffles and door prizes will be part of the event.

“I’m telling people you can’t do any yard work this weekend, so you may as well come to the show and have a good time at our 16th annual event,” said Osvold.

He said planners have heard from people coming to the show from various sections of the U.S., including some from as far away as Texas, Nebraska and Colorado – a sure sign of the show’s size and scope. 

“For first timers, this show is a real eye opener,” said Osvold. “The trade show, including buyers and sellers, will be in the front gymnasium at the community center. Decoy competition will be held in the back section gymnasium.”

The National Fish Decoy Association (NFDA), based in Frazee, is a group dedicated to the preservation of the folk-art of fish decoy carving, both for winter and summer fishing. Its members are involved with the promotion and education of the sport of dark house spear fishing.

The goal of this event is to share and gain knowledge in many aspects of the decoy world.

Visitors to the show, like in prior years, 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 and antiques.

“This year we have more variety of things to do, than ever before,” said Osvold.

Fly fishing demonstrations are scheduled, boat anchor information is available, and people can learn more about Minnesota fishing history.

“One vendor is coming all the way from Milwuakee, with hunting books,” said Osvold.

“Others can learn more about the great outdoors, the environment and fishing techniques. The Minnesota Trappers Association will have a booth. Clothing items will be available and a ladies booth will include custom jewelry.”

He said there are some things people wouldn’t count on, including functional art such as a wildlife chandelier.

The NFDA Awards Banquet will be held at the nearby Cactus in Perham.

In prior years, competition has included more than 50 categories such as fish, bird and duck.

Judging takes place all day Saturday among the regional and national decoy and folk-art fish carvers. Awards are distributed Saturday evening at the banquet.

The Chamber of Commerce and Perham civic leaders appreciate the two-day show as a big contributor to tourism and economic development in this area of Otter Tail County.

Many local businesses are sponsoring the event.

The top five NFDA point (carvers) champions, as of March 16, were Troy Helget, Paul Sparks, Larry Lange, Todd Shultze and Curt Soine.

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

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent