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New look for old fair barn

The barn along Third Avenue S.E. in Perham got a makeover recently, with bright red steel siding and white trim. Its new owner, Lakes Area Cooperative, is currently using it as a storage area. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

A new flash of bright red among endless mounds of white snow has been piquing the interest of drivers along Third Avenue S.E. in Perham.

The now-red, formerly white and stone building was used for years as the dairy barn during the East Otter Tail County Fair. But the strip of land it sits on was sold to Lakes Area Cooperative in May, after the fair board announced plans to construct a new barn elsewhere.

“Structurally, it’s a neat old building,” said Ben Lindquist, manager of the co-op’s Country Store. The building became his project after the purchase. “We had people stopping off the street, asking us not to tear it down.”

Advertising for the fair will still happen along the avenue, Lindquist added. However, the fair dates will no longer be painted on the side of the barn, as they used to be every year.

“It was a no-brainer,” Lindquist said when asked about the new red siding. “But, more work is going to be needed inside.”

The steel siding was specifically chosen to match the color of Lakes Area Cooperative’s logo, said Lindquist, in order for people to connect the building with the company.

“We got a lot of compliments,” said Lindquist. “I’m glad people have noticed and appreciated it.”

For now, Lindquist said, the building is being used as a storage area. But that could change in the future. A farmer’s market was one possibility mentioned.