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Get ready for jam-packed Turtle Fest 2011

FOCUS file Turtle Fest 2011 is expected to have many new events and entertainment.

Turtle Fest is now under the umbrella of the Perham Lions Turtle Fest Committee (PLFC). The Lions are planning a jam-packed celebration from June 18-26.

The co-chairs of the event are Steve Tryggeseth and Gary Senske. They weighed in on what folks can expect for the big event.

How's the planning going for Turtle Fest 2011?

ST: We started in October with some basic planning to see what from the past Turtle Fest we wanted to retain, and some ideas of a direction we wanted to see Turtle Fest go.

So, we have been pretty busy since then. We are at the point now where just about all the events that TF 2011 is going to have are lined up. We are done looking for new ideas for this year, although we are always planning for 2012 and beyond.

GS: We are working on the details and fundraising at this time. That will be followed by a marketing, promotion and advertising phase.

Our fundraising started about two months ago and presently we have raised $9,200 of the $23,400 needed to fund the event this year.

What can people expect now that the Perham Lions have taken over the planning of the event?

ST: What the Perham Lions Festival Committee (PLFC) is bringing to the table is a central leadership team, a center of discussion etc, with the hope that we still keep all civic groups, as many private citizens as possible involved in Turtle Fest. Many of the people who have worked on Turtle Fest in the past are still working with us.

The PLFC also brings an umbrella of insurance to the event that it has never had before. Also, any donations given to Turtle Fest are now tax deductible as the PLFC is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization. But mostly, we think that Turtle Fest just needed a shot in the arm, some people to drive it to another level, and not be satisfied every year with the same thing.

What new events/entertainment will be on hand?

ST: You will see two street dances with a beer garden and food this year. Friday and Saturday June 24-25 will be rockin' at the fairgrounds. Friday night we have an exciting band from South Dakota that is very popular in this area. They are Power Play and they are hot. Saturday night, after the demo derby will be the first ever Perham Idol singing competition. We are looking for talented singers to perform and we will crown our first winner that night. After Perham Idol, we will rock the night away with local DJ Dan Mattfeld.

Sunday, June 26 we will have a water ski show at Paul Miller Park and then later at 4 p.m. we have local magician Nick Bretz doing his show at 4 p.m. to lead into the first annual Turtle Tootsie Beauty Pageant.

After the Turtle Races on Friday, June 24 there will be a concert downtown with Penny and Pals right after a Teddy Bear Parade at 11:45 a.m.

One of the events that is new and I am so excited about, because it is for such a good cause, is our motorcycle ride on Saturday, June 25 at noon. This is the first annual "Turtle Fest Ride for OUR Returning Veterans." Money raised from this motorcycle ride will benefit Project New Hope/Camp New Hope in McGregor, Minn.

This is a free retreat for returning soldiers and their families so they can readjust to civilian life and decompress.

We will be having a coloring contest for kids - two age groups, 6 and under and 7-11 years old. The winners will get to ride in the Turtle Fest Parade. They can get the coloring contest sheet on the website or pick them up at the Chamber office.

What will be back from previous years?

ST: Some of the old standbys will be back. The feature will be our Friday Night Grande Parade. This year, Tyler Krumwiede promised the best parade ever, and based on some of the units he has already lined up, it will be. We have the Vikings Skoal Band, the North Dakota Army National Guard Marching Band, two Shriners mobile units, some local high school bands and novelty acts. You will even see the Perham Lions Broom Closet Kazoo Band performing some of their hits.

GS: We are bringing back 14 events from the previous Turtle Fest and are adding 17 new events, so we have more than doubled the offerings. Our attempt is to make Turtle Fest a family fun event for all to enjoy, so we added a few more kiddie events. We wanted to keep all the past event chairs and for the most part we have succeeded. We have added new chairs in some events. Thanks to those who have stepped up and took on the challenge. Those individuals are Michele Baker, Jeff Morris, Dave Cresap, Emily Poulson, Randy Skoog, Wanda Smith, Mark Schmidt, Sam Benshoof, Nick Theroux and Marie Hanson. We still need more help to put this all together. Those that have repeated from previous Turtle Fests are Jill Shipman, Sherri Borman, Dan Schroeder, Tyler Krumwiede, Gary Doll and Gene Jahnke.

What have been the biggest challenges in planning the festival?

ST: Our biggest challenge has been in getting enough people to step forward to help with the planning and leg work. So, if we could make a plea, if anyone out there wants to be a part of the Turtle Fest Committee, we could use the help. Plus, the donations are coming in a lot slower than we had hoped. Turtle Fest is totally put on and sponsored by the donations of local businesses and private citizens. If anyone wants to make a donation, they can send in a check, or we have made it even simpler. On our website, anyone can donate to Turtle Fest online. Go to and click on Turtle Fest. Go to the donations page.

How can vendors sign up to get involved?

ST: We are looking for many more craft vendors this year. We will be keeping the space rentals the same this year as in the past. The fee will be $25 for a 10 foot wide spot. Food vendors will cost $175. If any vendors want to apply, they can go to our website and click on the Vendors tab. All the information will be there.

Anything else you'd like to add?

ST: We need donations from business and private parties. This is going to be the best Turtle Fest ever and it does cost money. We need help and will take all volunteers.

To find out about the calendar of Turtle Fest activities, applications, or any other information including Pay Pal, go to and click on Turtle Fest.