Perham's Fifth Annual Harvest Festival draws hundreds

Area residents indulged in the wonderful activities that their fellow residents offered. Everything from apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, face painting, live music, and a strolling magician brought the city to life.

Amelia Bell
Amelia Bell gets her face painted by April Currier at the Fifth Annual Harvest Festival in Perham.

Area residents indulged in the wonderful activities that their fellow residents offered. Everything from apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, face painting, live music, and a strolling magician brought the city to life.

"After Dark" played music throughout the day, premiering from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Station House. The Perham Express brought residents to numerous stops along the way, or allowed people to simply enjoy a half-hour ride around the city.

At NP Park, Alyssa Bell brought her daughter Amelia to get her face painted by April Currier of Northwoods Assembly of God.

"It's nice to get out here. It's a beautiful day. Amelia's having fun and it's a great day with the family," Alyssa said.

Amelia's grandmother Cindy said, "It's great to see people out and about. We brought Amelia again so we could all enjoy the day together."


"It's awesome a community does things like this," said Alanna Burns.

Alanna's fellow face-painter Kristy said, "It's that small town feeling that Perham's bringing back and it's great."

"It's beautiful today!" exclaimed Amelia as she boarded the Perham Express.

Mark "Pa" Lenius was the conductor of the Perham Express Engine. His wife is "Ma" from Ma's Little Red Barn. Behind Ma's was a rummage sale.

Their granddaughter Jade rode up front with Pa as they traveled through the city. Jade's most fun part was spotting license plates from different states, asking Pa which state they were or pointing out new ones.

"I saw plates from North Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Illinois, Arizona, and Colorado!" she said.

"Everyone's thoroughly enjoyed the day," said Lenius. "We've had passengers from everywhere. People are having a blast. It's amazing."

When asked about donating his time, Lenius said, "You can thank Don Olson and Elmer Seedorf for everything."


A bronze plaque in the cabin of the Perham express reads, "The Perham Express Engine is dedicated to the loving memory of Don Olson and Elmer Seedorf who shared this vision."

Express Engine's afternoon stop

As the Perham Express Engine dropped a crowd off at a flea market at Blossom's, Birds & Beyond, Joann Spahn experienced a bit of a culture shock.

"I love this area," she said. "It's so much nicer here. Parts of California are nothing like this. People here leave their doors unlocked, everyone says hello or waves to you. I love it here."

Her granddaughter Destiny went bobbing for apples at NP Park.

When asked what her favorite part of the day was, she said, "Being with my grandchild. Best thing about life is being a grandparent."

Blossom's, Birds & Beyond was also the site of another flea market. Furniture, antiques, art, glassware, and canned goods were up for sale.

Jo Meyer held wreath-making classes throughout the day, with a small charge of five dollars for supplies. The Future Farmer's of America (FFA) offered a Petting Zoo and brought along a small cow, horse, a chicken, a rabbit, and chinchillas.


The other flea market was held across from Pizza Ranch in downtown Perham. Jelly, syrup, quilts, farm toys, Minnesota-made crafts, jewelry, and sample furniture were for sale.

The Lakes Lions Club offered brat, hot dogs, mini-donuts, and roast turkey.

Carving and painting

Becky Gould, daughter of Tom and Kathy Gould who served as event organizers, helped children carve pumpkins and learn new techniques. They brought along safe plastic tools for the children. At one point, they had ten children carving at once.

It was Becky's first time carving pumpkins at the Harvest Festival, she said. Her father had asked her to come out from Bismarck, N.D.

"It's great visiting friends and family from out of state," she said.

She showed pumpkin-carvers how to paint gourds into little monsters, how to make three dimensional pumpkin carvings, and also new techniques on how to make their art stay longer.

By using rubbing alcohol along the cut edges and Vaseline along the insides, it prolongs the life of the carved pumpkin. The rubbing alcohol prevents the cuts from receding, and the Vaseline prevents water from escaping.


Bryan Barnes, who helped Becky throughout the day with apple bobbing, carving, and painting, said, "Came out and had a great time."

Special thanks

Dean's and Service Food donated apples for the apple bobbing, and Carol Buchholz donated all 50 of the pumpkins for the carving, painting and placing around town.

All 64 businesses that provided retail sales and promotions helped distribute the flyers.

Event organizer Kathy Gould spent a lot of time as "a committee of one," with the help of friends and volunteers.

"Pa did an awful lot to help me that morning. He was really a great help to me."

"The day was perfect. I was really pleased with the Harvest Festival."

"We had a lot of kids and a lot of families gathering together. The people who showed up to the event were pleased. There was something for everyone."


Many volunteers and donors spent a lot of time and effort to make the event possible for the community.

People who attended the festival shared the same sentiments - it was a beautiful day and full of fun.

Harvesting the Harvest Fest Pumpkins

By Melissa Swenson

Friday, October 1 was a beautiful, blue sky, big puffy cloud kind of day - perfect for picking pumpkins. Kathy and Tom Gould, this year's Harvest Fest organizers, needed help gathering pumpkins for the event, and the staff of the EOT Focus was happy to lend a hand.

The Harvest Fest pumpkins were donated by Carol and Rich Bucholz of rural Perham. The Bucholz's are big gardeners and according to Carol, "If there's a patch of dirt somewhere, Rich will plant something on it."

Carol went above and beyond to help the Focus crew by cutting the pumpkins off the vine and in most cases, searching out the best pumpkins in the field.


The pumpkins were used in the carving and decorating demonstrations that were lead by Becky Gould of Bismark.

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