One shell of a good time! Perham's Turtle Fest draws crowds

Perham's annual Turtle Fest returned to the town's streets from Wednesday, June 15 through the morning of Sunday, June 19.

A group of kids scurry to grab a piece of candy at the Turtle Fest parade.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

PERHAM — With the week of Turtle Fest comes a week of fun, festivities, and wins — from the traditional turtle races to the annual parade to scavenger hunts and pizza-eating contests. From Wednesday, June 15 through the morning of Sunday, June 19, the streets of Perham were alive and busy with the sounds of celebration.

Turtle Fest kicked off on Wednesday, June 15 with the weekly summer turtle races.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
Kids at the Turtle Fest races on Wednesday, June 15 line up to get fun art painted onto them.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Festivities kicked off on Wednesday, June 15 with the turtle races at 10:30 a.m. With kid-friendly music, bouncy castles, inflatable slides, and face-painting, laughter and smiles could be seen on the faces of families who joined in. People from Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Arizona, and Georgia came to participate in the races.

A kid flies down the inflatable slide at Turtle Race Park during the week of Turtle Fest.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
A clown passes out candy to kids and their families at the Turtle Fest parade on the evening of Friday, June 17.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

From there, many different events began throughout Perham to keep visitors and locals alike entertained all throughout the week. Trolley rides were available to those who wanted a tour of the town. A farmer's market and the Annual Bible Reading Marathon were in N.P. Park. People could participate in the all-city rummage sale, Yoga in the Park, a car show, bingo, beer-tasting, and more.

One of the runner-ups of the Turtle Fest pizza-eating contest, Nolan Cassidy, works his way through eating his pepperoni and jalapeno pizza.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
Trevor Semann, the voice of the turtle races, raises his arms and cheers in success when he wins the Turtle Fest pizza-eating contest.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Different events, like the pizza-eating contest at Pizza Ranch, enamored the public. On the afternoon of Friday, June 17, the community gathered under the pizza-eating tent to watch competitors stuff their faces with medium pepperoni and jalapeno pizzas for a prize of $100 in Perham Bucks. In the end Trevor Semann, the voice of the turtle races, reigned victorious with the first-place prize.

The Empowering Kids float, complete with inflatable animals and rainbow decorations, makes its way through the Turtle Fest parade on Friday, June 17.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
People on the MN True North float during the Turtle Fest parade spray the waiting crowd with water as they yell and cheer.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Every day at noon, the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce posted clues toward the location of a $500 medallion. The first person to find it would win the prize money, and, in the end, Jake Huebsch found it in a tree outside of Empowering Kids.


Live music, magician performances, a baseball tournament, the 5k and 10k Turtle Fest run, a dunk tank, and even the annual Main Street Fair with food and art followed.

A smiling Miss Wolf Lake Desarae Kohrs waves to the crowd on her float during the Turtle Fest parade.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
Members of Perham Area Gymnastics show off their flips during the Turtle Fest parade, as the crowd gasps and cheers in awe.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

On Friday evening, the large Turtle Fest parade marched down the streets of Perham, tossing candy and prizes to the crowd of kids and families cheering from the sidewalk. Saturday evening ended with live music throughout town and fireworks at the E.O.T. County Fairgrounds at dusk. On Sunday morning, the week of celebrations concluded with the morning Rotary breakfast at Lakes Café.

If you want more information on Turtle Fest and its events, visit .

Elizabeth (she/her), 24, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
What To Read Next
Get Local