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Festival being organized for July in Pine River

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Pine River’s Plaid on Purpose event committee is looking to organize a celebration to take place July 25-26.

“We were talking about how in the last couple of years the Cass County Fair has moved earlier and earlier during the summer due partially to Midway (Minnesota Magic Midway Carnival that provides rides and vendors). That’s left kind of a gap activity-wise for our area in the mid- to late July span. So we’re just looking at another way to bring people to town and provide an entertaining and fun event,” said Quinn Swanson of Pine River Revitalization.

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Until recent years, the Cass County Fair traditionally was Pine River’s source of excitement in July. This year, like last year, the fair will be held in conjunction with Pine River Summerfest on June 26-29. Representatives from the Pine River Chamber of Commerce, Pine River Revitalization and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association have begun brainstorming to create something fun and original for the city.

The group may have found a way to create a festival from the city’s plaid color scheme and the humble zucchini. The details are still being determined.

“Could we do a zucchini regatta and try and race them like boats? Could there be a zucchini catapult or shot put contest? There are lots and lots of ideas and so far we haven’t narrowed it down nor have we figured it out how, necessarily, we are going to pull it off,” Swanson said.

The group also discussed a possible cookoff competition, costume competition, zucchini-based games, the crowning of the ZuQueenie and Duke of Zuke and many other ideas.

The event will coincide with other city events such as Doug Taylor’s upcoming horse-drawn historic tours of the city, the weekly Pine River Duck Races, Pine River Farmers Market and Pine River Flea Market. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association is working on a scenic byway “poker run” during the same weekend.

Discussion is ongoing. The Plaid on Purpose event committee welcomes ideas, volunteers to head up each activity and funding.

“It is a fun and unique idea. It could be kind of silly and fun. Though it is a little bit early in the growing season, That’s part of why we need people to start their zucchini early. There’s usually an abundance of zucchini, so we thought of something kind of funky to do with it,” Swanson said.

Residents with gardeners are being asked to start growing zucchini early this year. Growing in good conditions, a zucchini can produce fruit in 52 days. Even though there are 120 days between March 27 and July 25, growing conditions in Minnesota are rarely optimal.

“We are early enough in the planning that if someone has a whopper of a zucchini idea we’ll take it. Furthermore, if they want to enact said whopper idea ...” Swanson said.

Travis Grimler can be reached at travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him at facebook.com/PEJTravis and on Twitter @PEJ_Travis.

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