File photo
The annual East Otter Tail County Fair in Perham will kick off this week in Perham.

By Chad Koenen


Animals, rides, live entertainment and unique creations on a stick—oh my. The annual East Otter Tail County Fair will kick off on Thursday with an ever-expanding line up of grandstand events and entertainment that will once again show why the Perham-based fair is one of the top draws in the region each year.

Just as in years past, there is no cost to attend the East Otter Tail County Fair, with the exception of the grandstand events.

“We just want to encourage people to come out and have some fun. I think our prices are reasonable yet compared to other events in the area,” said East Otter Tail County Fair Secretary/Treasurer Diane Sazama. “We are trying to keep it affordable so we would like as many people come out and see the fair and see some of the talents that are around.”

The fair will officially get underway on Thursday morning when the 4-H poultry show and open poultry show begins at 8:30 a.m. The children’s barn, where children will be able to hold animals and see a variety of barnyard animals up-close, will open at 10 a.m. Thursday will also include the beef, goat and FFA and 4-H shows. 

Sazama said there should be a wide variety of animals from poultry to large cows and horses on display throughout the fair. 

“From what I understand from 4-H is their livestock numbers are way up, so the barns should be full,” she said.  

The carnival will also officially get underway on Thursday at 5 p.m. and the first of two wristband opportunities will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday. The century farm awards will be presented on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the RGB Band will perform at the park shelter from 8:30-11:30 p.m. 

Friday will once again feature a wide variety of activities for people of all ages as glass blower demonstrations will be given by Jon Offutt at 11 a.m. and beginning each hour from 1-5 p.m. Sazama said Offutt hasn’t been at the fair for several years as he will not come back on consecutive years. The demonstration will include an up-close look at how everything from custom vases to glassware that created from liquid to glass. Offutt will also hold his demonstration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday as well. 

For the second consecutive year a second wristband day will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Friday and a variety of dairy, rabbit and swine shows will be held throughout the day.

The highlight of Friday will be in the grandstand when the NTPA tractor pull will be held beginning at 7 p.m. The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for ages 6-12. The grandstand events are the only events that cost money to attend at the free fair. 

Milo Hatzenbuhler will highlight a busy Saturday at the fair when he performs his farm parody at 12 p.m. at the park shelter. Sazama said the comedic parody will feature a variety of music and comedy that highlights farming life. Hatzenbuhler will also perform his show at 2 p.m. as well.

“He ties the music in so it connects with the farm. It’s kind of a comedy,” she said. 

The carnival will open at 12 p.m. and events will be held throughout the afternoon, including several 4-H and livestock shows before the Church of Cash takes the stage for the first of two shows at 5 p.m. The Johnny Cash tribute band typically draws big crowds wherever they perform as they will also take the stage for an encore performance at 6 p.m. 

Saturday will come to a crashing end when the demo derby gets underway at the grandstand at 6 p.m., once again with a $15 cover charge for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children ages 5 and under. 

The Blue English Band will bring the day to an end when they perform from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

The fair will come to a close on Sunday with a performance by Eric Reiten in the park shelter from 12-3 p.m., the kids tractor pedal pull at 12 p.m. and tractor pull in the grandstand at 1 p.m. the cost to attend the tractor pull is $5 for people ages 6 and above and free for those ages 5 and under. 

The carnival will open at 1 p.m. and will close at 6 p.m. when the fair closes for the 2023 season.