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Scottish Accordionist Neil Gunn of The Gunn Slingers will perform at 5 p.m. Saturday during the Mid-Summer Faire at St. Mathias Farm in Brainerd.

Mid-Summer Faire set Saturday at St. Mathias Farm

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Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The Farm on St. Mathias and its cultural nonprofit Foxfire Festivals will host the sixth annual Mid-Summer Faire from noon to 4 p.m. and then from 5-10 p.m. Saturday.

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Foxfire Festival's mission is inspired by demonstrations of traditional music, storytelling, dance, and farmstead artisans derived from the traditions of agriculture. This year's Mid-Summer Faire includes a lineup of regional and local musicians, dancers and traditional arts demonstrations.

The festival will focus on children's entertainment from 12-4 p.m. with a special performance by Shawn McBurnie and the Slight Exaggerations. This special children's musical performance

includes songs of tall tale creatures from the Minnesota Northwoods tradition who are making a

comeback by way of song. Shawn McBurnie and The Slight Exaggerations present a collection of singable and family-friendly original songs about these little-known characters. Audiences learn a bit about the menagerie, and are invited to chime in on choruses.

The Northwoods have a rich folklore tradition of stories and ballads, but the creatures of the boreal forests never attained the fame of Babe the Blue Ox; the squonk, hoop snake, splintercat, and wapaloosie - and many others - have been sorely neglected.

These "fearsome critters" were featured in stories told in logging, mining, or railroad bunkhouses; around trappers' fires; or anywhere frontier workers relaxed and swapped yarns. Because these tall tales were designed to impress, stretch credibility,and pull the legs of "greenhorns," they circulated as stories and did not enter the song tradition until Shawn McBurnie, traditional singer and wordsmith, decided to write them into ballads. Pre-release copies of the CD will also be available. Children's entertainment also will include professional facepainting, games, dance and play areas.

Scottish rockers, The Gunn Slingers, will take the stage at 5 p.m. with their form of Scottish rock known as ceilidh. Formed by Scottish accordionist Neil Gunn, The Gunn Slingers have exploded onto the Minnesota ceilidh scene. They play a mix of traditional Scottish tunes with hard groove and high energy.

With a focus on fire, there will be artistic demonstrations including fire dancing and spinning, glass blowing and blacksmithing. The full spectrum of wool fiber production along with blacksmithing, metalsmithing and stone craft will be demonstrated.

The festival highlights local artists who are dedicated to preserving the traditional cultural arts. Staged alongside the picturesque 1950s refurbished dairy barn, stations of fiber artists demonstrate sheep shearing and fiber spinning on antique hand wheels.

Prairie Bay's Side Dish will serve foods from 12-4 p.m. and Matt Taylor of The Shine will be roasting a pig for the night's festivities. The pig roast, fire-spinning, music and dancing will be held from 5-10 p.m.

An expanded shopping area will include vendors from the region to include All Things Herbal, B&B Goat Goods, Posh Designs, Brambleberry Jams, Ye Olde Open Window, Sausage Haus, The Center for Irish Music and The Farm's vast array of reclaimed furniture and locally crafted Amish Goods.

For more information go to www.foxfirefestivals.com or call 612-695-2721.

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