England Pioneer Days set for this weekend, Aug. 26-28

The 43rd Annual England Prairie Pioneer Days will open on Friday, Aug. 26 with an evening meal and live music. The main event gets underway Saturday, Aug. 27 and continues through Sunday, Aug. 28, with live music, food, threshing and saw mill demonstrations, draft horse field demonstrations and much more.

England Prairie Pioneer Club's show each August features demonstrations of old farm machinery along with music, a flea market and fun for kids.
England Prairie Pioneer Club's show each August features demonstrations of old farm machinery along with music, a flea market and fun for kids.
File photo
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WADENA — The England Prairie Pioneer Club is preparing to present its 43rd Annual Pioneer Days festival this weekend, Aug. 26-28 at the England Prairie Pioneer Grounds between Verndale and Wadena.

The schedule for Friday through Sunday is jam-packed, according to event organizer Shelly Dukowitz.

“We’re kind of loaded this year. I like it,” she said. “We start our weekend Friday night. The gates open at 4 p.m., and there’s no charge. That’s kind of our opening night welcome to everyone. There’s a good-sized meal, with barbecued pork ribs and roast beef served from 5 to 7 p.m., and then music from 7 to 9 p.m.”

Both Saturday and Sunday’s schedule starts out with the Thresher’s Breakfast, served from 7:30 to 11 a.m. It’s not to be missed, Dukowitz said.

“It’s a wonderful breakfast – very filling,” she said. “There’s Phyllis’ Famous Pancakes, or French toast, and that also comes with eggs and sausage links and a beverage.”


Saturday’s fun also includes an antique tractor pull, starting at 11 a.m., featuring machines that are all 50 years and older. Classes range from 3,500 pounds to 10,500 pounds; drivers must be at least 14 years old to enter.

There’s live music from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. featuring the Now Then Ramblers, and then at 2 p.m. there will be an open jam session, open to anyone who wants to join.

“Each day we will also have a parade,” Dukowitz said. “It’s for anyone to come in and join.”

The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

There will be a kiddie coin hunt for ages 3-12 on both Saturday and Sunday as well, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Saturday’s festivities will also feature live threshing, saw mill and shingle mill demonstrations, at 9 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., and the kitchen will be open for lunch and supper from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The gates close at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Sunday morning begins with the Thresher’s Breakfast, followed by a 9 a.m. worship service at the Log Chapel.

“We’ll also have our draft horses doing field demonstrations and plowing on Sunday, starting at around 10 a.m.,” Dukowitz said.


The threshing, saw mill and shingle mill demonstrations continue on Sunday as well, at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., with the Plow Down starting at 10 a.m.

Fred Walter Music & Ministry will be on stage from 11 a.m to 1 p.m., followed by the parade.

“We have bingo on Sunday too, from 2 to 4 p.m.,” Dukowitz said, “and there’s also a car show, a military museum, a pioneer museum, a print shop, blacksmithing, a flea market, and plenty of kids’ games on both days. There’s fun for the whole family; it’s an all-ages show.”

Raffle prize drawings will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, with the gates closing for the season at 5 p.m.

“Then we start all over for next year!” Dukowitz said, adding that the annual show is the work of volunteers who belong to the non-profit England Prairie Club.

The England Prairie Pioneer Grounds are located at 14229 County Road 1, between Verndale and Wadena. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday; admission is free for kids age 17 and under, and $5 for those 18 and above. The commemorative button that comes with your admission is good for both days of the festival, Dukowitz noted.

Camping is available for Pioneer Days attendees. The camping area has a playground, horseshoe pits and modern restrooms and shower facilities; some campsites have electricity as well.

For more information, visit the website at .


England Prairie Pioneer Days schedule

Friday, Aug. 26

  • 4 p.m. Gates open. No charge.
  • 5-7 p.m. - Supper with BBQ pork ribs or roast beef
  • 6:45 p.m. - Coronation of the 22nd England Prairie Royalty
  • 7-9 p.m. - Live music from the Blommel Family Band

Saturday, Aug. 27

  • 7:30 a.m. Gates open. Free for kids age 17 and under, $5 gate fee for those 18 and above (admission button is good for both days)
  • 7:30 to 11 a.m. - Thresher’s breakfast
  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. - Ice Cream Shoppe Open
  • 9 a.m. - Threshing, sawmill and shingle mill demonstrations
  • 10:30 a.m. Puppet show “Cats in the Kitchens”
  • 11 a.m. - Antique tractor pull
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Now Then Ramblers perform
  • 11:30 a.m. - Kiddie coin hunt, ages 3-12
  • 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. - Kitchen open for lunch and supper
  • 1 p.m. - Parade: Everyone invited to participate
  • 2 p.m. - Open jam session: Everyone plays!
  • 8 p.m. - Gates close

Sunday, Aug. 28

  • 7:30 a.m. Gates open.
  • 7:30-11 a.m. - Thresher’s breakfast
  • 9 a.m. - Worship service at Log Chapel
  • 10 a.m. - Draft horse field demonstrations
  • 10 a.m. - Plow Down
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Ice Cream Shoppe open
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Fred Walter Music & Ministry
  • 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Kitchen open for lunch
  • 11:30 a.m. - Kiddie coin hunt, ages 3-12
  • 1:30 p.m. - Parade: Everyone invited to participate
  • 2 to 4 p.m. - Bingo, 50% payout
  • 2:15 p.m. - Threshing, sawmill and shingle mill demonstrations
  • 4 p.m. - Raffle prize drawings
  • 5 p.m. - Gates close for the season.
A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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