Art, fishing and music celebrated with New York Mills Fish House Festival

The seventh annual Fish House Festival is on Friday, July 9.

New York Mills Fish House Painting.jpg
Regional artists take to the street while painting fish houses as part of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center Fish House Festival. The 2021 celebration is July 9. Submitted photo, 2021

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center invites the public to the seventh annual Fish House Festival on Friday, July 9 with art, fishing, music and fun throughout the day, culminating in a raffle and live auction. The festival is held in conjunction with the New York Mills Summer Celebration and the Lund Mania Fishing Tournament.

Artists begin painting in the street at 9 a.m. and family activities begin at 1 p.m. on Main Avenue. At 6:30 p.m., the raffle drawing and live auction of fish houses, decoys and other art created during the festival will be held in front of the Fire Hall on Centennial Avenue. You can also enjoy the O’Neil Family Band from 1-4 p.m. on Main Avenue.

The O'Neils' repertoire includes both traditional and original reels, jigs, waltzes, schottisches, hornpipes and songs. With roots in Métis, French Canadian, Scandinavian, Celtic, New England and Appalachian tunes, their music is a unique blend of these traditions with a style all its own, according to a Cultural Center news release.

The youth decoy painting at 1 p.m. has 20 spots available. You can call 218-385-3339 to pre-register. Cost is $5 per decoy and is recommended for youth 10 years old and older (or accompanied by an adult). The activity is sponsored by the EOT Darkhouse Association. All other art activities, games and live music are free and open to all.

Local and regional decoy artists will also be featured in the annual Decoy & Wildlife Show in the Cultural Center gallery. The artists include Brad Lange, Larry Lange and Bear Creek decoys as well as photography by Brad Anderson . Admission to the gallery is always free and open to all.


Both fish houses (one each for raffle and auction) will be painted on Friday by artists from around the region. Currently confirmed artists include Aryn Lill, Jacob Sazama and Kim Sazama of Perham, John Peeters and Noah Nofsinger of New York Mills, Nancy X. Valentine of Fergus Falls, Dawn Rossbach of Menahga, Cheryl Bannes of Wadena and Mati Turonen of Vienna, Va.

Raffle tickets are $10 and available for purchase at the Cultural Center, F&M State Bank, Scott’s Bait & Tackle, Mills Lanes, Mills Country Market and Cenex, and in Perham at Gene’s Sport Shop and the Bongards retail store. According to the release, first prize is a custom built ice fishing spear house by Ronn Hamm and painted by local artists; second prize is a half-day guided fishing trip with PT’s Guide Service; third prize is Lund Boat gear, including a hockey stick net, soft sided cooler and “The Judge” ruler.

Live auction bid numbers will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 9 at the Cultural Center and on Centennial Drive after 4:30 p.m. The live auction by Perala Bros. Auctioneers will feature a second artist-painted, Ron Hamm custom-built ice fishing spear house, decoys and other wildlife art. Proceeds from the auction will be shared equally between the artists and the Cultural Center to support future community art events.

This event is made possible by a partnership with the National Fish Decoy Association and Rod Osvold and Lund Boats, PT’s Guide Service, Bongards, Gene’s Sport Shop, Cenex NYM (Lakes Area Co-op), Mills Country Market, Mills Lanes, Scott’s Bait & Tackle and F&M State Bank.

For more information, call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 or visit the Center's website at .

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