This year not every Turtle Fest event could take place as usual. Many events either had to be scaled back, adapted, changed, or called off altogether this year.
Turtle Fest 2.0 the scaled-back version of the festival went as well as could be expected, Dan Schroeder, the Executive Director at the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce, said. He said that Turtle Fest was well attended by both locals and by visitors.
Usually a big part of the summer festival, turtle races could not be safely held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the Race to Find the Turtle kicked off this year’s festivities on June 17. Ten “turtles,” painted rocks, were hidden at participating Chamber of Commerce businesses, starting off at 10 a.m. on June 17.
Participants quickly found the rocks, all 10 of them were found before 1 p.m., according to Sandy Palubicki, Information and Visitor Coordinator at the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce.
June 19 was the busiest day of the festival with a drive up Rib Fest taking place in the Central Market parking lot, vendors filling a block of West Main Street for on the street shopping, and the Farmers Market in NP Park were among some of the day’s events.
Friday would normally also have the Turtle Fest parade, which could not take place this year due to social distancing. In place of the parade, a fireworks display was set off at the East Otter Tail County Fairgrounds, in Perham, at 10 p.m. on June 19. The fireworks display was attended and enjoyed by numerous people.
The event concluded on June 20, with many of the same activities as the day before.
A virtual 5K, sponsored by the Brew, also took place on June 20 as participants ran or walked the event on their own schedule and then uploaded photos of the event to Facebook under one of the two event hashtags; which were #brew5k and #moveyourbrewty.
While many events had to be changed or called off the Medallion Hunt was still able to take place, as usual, this year. Each day the Chamber put out a clue as to where the medallion was hidden. The clue was posted on the Perham Event’s Facebook page and announced on Lakes 99.5 FM. It was the third clue in the Medallion Hunt, "Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard", that led 10-year-old Regan Hemberger, Perham, to find the medallion on June 19 outside of the Bridge Pantry. By finding the medallion Hemberger and her family have won the prize of $500 in Perham Bucks.
All three clues that were used to help locate this year’s medallion were based on Nursery rhymes. Day 1’s clue was "Over the River and thru the Woods, to Grandmother's house we go." And day 2’s being "Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie, kissed the girls and made them cry."