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Expanded Turtle Fest in Perham showcases contests, entertainment

FOCUS File Last year's Miss Heart of the Lakes waves during the Turtle Fest parade.

The 2011 Turtle Fest will be new and improved.

Running from June 18-26 in Perham, this year's festival will offer traditional staples such as parades, turtle races, vendors and more, but new events and entertainments as well. Spanning two weeks, the event will definitely offer something for everyone.

Turtle Fest kicks off on Saturday, June 18 with a 5/10K road race in Arvig Park, with registration starting at 9 a.m.

There's plenty of fun to be had every day throughout the week, including many new events such as the Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby at Zorbaz on June 18 at 1 p.m.; pork chops on a stick and 32 flavors of ice cream at Ma's Little Red Barn at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22 through Friday, June 24; a sand volleyball tournament on Friday, June 24 at 6 p.m. and many more.

Turtle Races, already underway, will continue to run every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon near the Perham Chamber of Commerce building.

When the weekend arrives, the real fun gets going. On Friday, June 24, the turtle races continue, and at 11:45 a.m. the Teddy Bear Parade with Penny and Pals, a new featured event of Turtle Fest this year, will take place near the Perham Chamber of Commerce office downtown. Following the parade, Penny and Pals will present a concert at noon.

Arts and crafts vendors will also be selling their wares downtown throughout the day.

A grand parade will travel through the streets of Perham at 7 p.m., and will be followed by a street dance featuring live music by Power Play from 8 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. The parade was originally slated to run down 2nd Ave SW, but an updated route has the parade going down 1st Ave S instead. The parade will begin at 6th Street by the high school.

The deadline to register for the parade is no later than June 21.

Saturday, June 25 will see an all-day garage sale in Perham starting at 7 a.m. The Average Jo Triathalon will take off starting at 8:30 a.m. The annual demolition derby will begin at 5:30 p.m. (a change from the originally scheduled time of 4:30 p.m.).

At 11:30 a.m. is another new event for Turtle Fest - the Turtle Fest Motorcycle Ride for Our Veterans. The cost for the ride is $20 per rider, and includes a 100-mile ride through lakes country, two nights of camping (Friday and Saturday nights), and more. All proceeds from the ride benefit the Project New Home/Camp New Home, a free retreat for returning soldiers and their families in McGregor, Minn.

A Perham Idol community musical competition is slated for 8:30 p.m., followed by a second street dance, DJ'ed by Synergy Entertainment. A beer garden and food vendors will also be available during this street dance as well.

Turtle Fest 2011 will close out on Sunday, June 26 with a Rotary pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon at Lakes Cafe in Perham, followed by a water ski show at Paul Miller Park. Finally, the Miss Turtle Tootsie Contest, another new event, will close out the festivities. Local magician Nick Bretz will open the evening.

For a full schedule of the week, go to and click on Turtle Fest.