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Fish houses painted, raffled and auctioned at 4th Annual Fish House Festival

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is hosting its 4th annual Fish House Festival on Friday, July 7 with art, food and fun activities throughout the day, culminating in a raffle and live auction at 6:30 p.m.

Artists will begin painting in the street at 9 a.m. and kids and family activities will begin at 1 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. the raffle drawing and live auction will be held near the Lund stage, in front of the Fire Hall on Centennial Ave in New York Mills. First prize is an artist-painted, Ron Hamm custom built 2017 ice-fishing spear house. Second and third prizes are both made by John Peeters--an original fish painting with handmade rustic wood frame, and a hand-carved and painted fish decoy.

The live auction by Bachmann Auctioneers will feature a one-of-a-kind eight-sided Ron Hamm custom built, artist-painted spear house. Other live auction items will include decoys, paddles and other sporting art painted by artists on the street during the festival.

Raffle tickets are on sale now for $10 each, with only 200 tickets sold. Tickets are available at the Cultural Center in New York Mills and Gene's Sport Shop in Perham. Bid numbers will be available all day during the festival at the Cultural Center, and on Centennial Drive after 5 p.m.

Both fish houses (one for raffle and one for auction) will be painted on the street in front of the Cultural Center on Friday by nine artists from around the region and Midwest: Harley Ragan is a World Champion spearing decoy maker and fish carver who grew up in Madison and currently lives in Iron River, Mich. where he carves a variety of decoys, including an occasional duck decoy. Rob Goodin from Osceola, Wisconsin has found the true outlet for his artistic expression in carving competition fish decoys, where he has earned National and World Titles. Eric Dregni is associate professor of English and journalism at Concordia University in St. Paul, and is also an author of more than a dozen books and a visual artist and creator of regional artistic maps showcasing Midwest icons. Tony Sazama, Jake Sazama, and Aryn Lill are all extremely talented and highly respected decoy and wildlife artists from Perham. And from New York Mills, Jessica Geiser is a very talented and diverse visual artist featured in the Cultural Center Garden Party this spring, and the well-known and artistically gifted father-daughter duo of John and Marcie Peeters will both be painting fish house panels this year. John has been a part of all four Fish House Festivals, and this is Marcie's first year painting a fish house, something she said has been a dream of hers for several years.

The Cultural Center's Fish House Festival is held in conjunction with the New York Mills Summer Celebration and the Lund Mania Fishing Tournament. The festival includes artists painting in the street, live music, kids and family activities, fish cookie decorating, fish-themed art activities, youth decoy painting and the Gallery Reception for the Decoy Show and Wildlife Art Exhibit, featuring a "Let's Go Fishing" Presentation at 3 p.m. by Dregni. We will also be selling Backwoods BBQ, chips, and water, pop and beer outdoors in front of the Center from noon-4 p.m.

Pre-registrations is requested (call (218) 385-3339) for the Youth Decoy Painting which begins at 1 p.m. and is $5 per decoy and recommended for youth ages 10+ (or accompanied by an adult). Just 20 spots are available, first come, first served. All other art activities, games and live music are free and open to all.

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