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A record-smashing Turtle Race pace

The record-breaking success of the weekly Turtle Races is yet another indicator that suggests that Perham is withstanding the economic downturn.

In 2009, the Perham International Turtle Races, which concluded with the final event Aug. 26, saw records broke for attendance on a weekly and seasonal basis.

The new single day record of 408 in 2008 was shattered on July 1, 2009, with a day total of 483 racers.

The largest season total was previously 3,874. But in 2009, race participants passed the 4,000 milestone with a new record total of 4,286 racers, reports Dan Schroeder, Perham Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The races took on a new, more festive atmosphere this year with new features--including weekly mini-donut and concession sales from the Perham Lions' new concession wagon.

Perham Lion Larry Olson coordinated the weekly operation, which was a joint effort with the Perham Masonic Lodge and the area Shrine Club. The concession wagon appeared weekly, and also for several special engagements, for a total of 18 appearances--including Crazy Days. The season generated profits of nearly $2,000 for the Lions, the Shriners and the Masons--virtually all of which is given back to the community through donations.

Other vendors and features for the 2009 Turtle Race season included concessions by the skatepark group; Ma's Little Red Barn with coffee; handcrafted turtles by Lynn Henderson; and the inflatable jumping balloons from Dan Christenson.

Schroeder acknowledged all the volunteers, race sponsors, KLN Enterprises, PMHH, NAPA & New Life Farms, the Perham FFA, United Community Bank, the Perham Lions, the Perham Masonic Lodge, Lynn Henderson, the city of Perham, Gene's Sport Shop, Edward Jones, Len Johnson and the Perham Express Train Staff, Miss Perham 2008 Karlie Miller, Miss HOTL 2008 MacKenzie Ross, Miss Perham 2009 Jenna Strege, T.A. Gould Jeweler, Ma's, the Chamber staff, and anyone who had a hand in this year's turtle race season.

Turtle Fest 2010 calls first meeting; Sept. 11 at Ma's Little Red Barn

The first planning meeting for Turtle Fest 2010 will be held Friday, September 11 at Café De La Fleur at Ma's Little Red Barn, 8 a.m.

The committee is seeking new leaders and volunteers. The group meets once a month, the second Friday of each month, from September through June to coordinate events.

These are some of the tasks:

• Promotion and Advertising - chair and helpers

• Fundraising - chair and helpers

• Parade - chair and helpers

• Vendors - chair and helpers

• Kids activities - chair and helpers

• Event chairperson in training

• Coordinator of non-profit groups holding events

Also, the committee is asking for a representative from each of the civic organizations that plan on holding an event during the festival.

For more information, email or 346-9742.