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Midsummer Festival grows in its second year

Cannonball Paul

Kay Browne is looking forward to displaying new exhibits at the Wadena Depot during the Midsummer Festival being held from June 17-21 in Wadena.

The festival will celebrate the longest days of the summer as well as explore the history of Wadena County, Browne said. Last year it was only a small gathering in the park to sell brats, but this year, the schedule is loaded with activities.

Many events are planned to take place in Burlington Northern Park on June 18, Browne said. Three live music acts will be performing, one of them featuring "Cannonball" Paul, the crooning conductor singer and ukulele player. The first performance is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with bluegrass music, followed by performances by Highlanders of the North from 3:30-5 p.m. and Cannonball Paul starting at 5:30 p.m. Brats, root beer floats and other snacks will be sold during the performances. A special exhibit of train photos taken by three Canadian Railroad employees and a local railroad fan, Jim Ramnes, will be on display. The city parade will start at 7 p.m. on June 18.

Also new this year, there will be a museum hop and cultural tour on June 20. People are encouraged to stop by local museums and historical societies to take a glimpse of the past. Refreshments and gift shops will be at a few of the sites. Some of the towns participating in these events include Sebeka, Menahga, Staples, Wadena, Perham and New York Mills.

With around 20 museums within 25 miles, it would be difficult to visit all of them, Browne said.

"There's quite a big distance to go," Browne said.

To add to the excitement, locals are invited to "cruise" to the museums in vintage cars and on motorcycles.

Wadena County is filled with history, and some of its points of interest are murals and statues, Browne said. Through the Midsummer Festival, locals will get a chance to explore the past.

"I think [history is] tremendously important," Browne commented. "It shows us where we came from."

Other activities include a city parade, historic walking tours, a fishing derby and a hospice breakfast at the Elk's Lodge.