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Presque Isle Country Fair  by Bill Rutherford

This year marks the 41st anniversary of this event, which began in 1978, when a small group of people got together and created the first “Presque Isle Country Fair”. The original committee consisted of Tom and Betty Forster, Ginny Brach, Kathy Ruff, and Jackie Beekman.  They were assisted in their efforts by other organizations, and the town’s citizens.

Over 1500 people from the all over the Northwoods came to see the crafts people at work, the large selections of arts and crafts, entertainment, and other events throughout the day. Over thirty booths lined the sides of Main Street, affording everyone an opportunity to look, explore, eat, and drink.

One of the goals of this group was to be able to celebrate some vanishing arts and crafts that were disappearing from our lives. Jackie Beekman set up a spinning wheel and gave demonstrations on how it was used. Karen Beekman and Gladys Hill showed people how to churn butter, woodworkers were on hand to display their birch bark creations, and a variety of other crafts were also available to be viewed by the enthusiastic crowd.

The ladies and men in town dressed in early country costumes. One lady wore a dress that was over 100 years old! Banners that been handmade lined the streets, to help add color to the festivities.

To use an old cliché, “A good time was had by all!”

This first Country Fair was so successful that it became an annual event, and has been held every year since. Our hats are off to that original group, and all those who came after them, to keep this tradition alive.

This year we are again looking forward to a fun-filled week end. On Saturday there will be the 5K-10K run, plus the Kid’s Logger Run, demos on “silent sports”, guided bike rides, nature hikes, pontoon rides and more.

Sunday is action packed from the time the gates open at 10am. Activities will keep everyone entertained all day until 4pm. We have 20 specialty vendors featuring regional art and handmade items, as well as area nonprofit groups providing activities and services throughout the day. Food and beer will be in ample supply, including the new “Bunyan’s Brew Shack” and the Lions/Lioness food tent. There will be children’s games , as well as the professional lumberjack show and the locals lumberjack competition. Coyote Radio 93.7  will be broad casting live throughout the festival.

I hope all of you will be there as we once again celebrate our town, our people, and our proud heritage.

For a collection of 20 more of Bill's essays on Winegar/Presque Isle read his book:

WINEGAR Reflections, Shelbyville, KY: Wasteland Press, 2016.

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