WADENA-This weekend on a scenic bluff overlooking the Crow Wing River, the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era will once again come to life during the Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folklife Festival.
The rendezvous will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Old Wadena Park.
This year's entertainment lineup includes one or two first time appearances and several
of the favorites from past years. Headlining the Old Wadena stage this year are John
Gorka on Saturday and Brian Wicklund and The Barley Jacks and annual favorites Curtis and Loretta on Sunday. As usual, everyone will be under tents in case of inclement weather.
Gorka is one of the top folk and bluegrass singer songwriters in Minnesota. Rolling Stone magazine called him "the preeminent male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement."
A prolific songwriter, he has 13 albums and counting to his credit.
Back after a favorable reception last year is Margo McCreary and the On-Time Puppet Show. The show is filled with "up to the minute fun for family audiences, puppets, clowning and music," organizers stated in a news release.
Others on the Old Wadena stage Saturday include Dave Virnala, Leane Flynn and Caitlin Robertson. All feature a mix of original songs along with traditional country and bluegrass favorites.
Each morning will begin with an hour-long concert of traditional Ojibwe flute music from Jake Kaehne, filling the grounds with background tones.
Curtis and Loretta will sing two sets on Sunday and their performance will include music from their newest album "When There is Good to be Done," a series of stories of Minnesotans who have gone through great challenges. Examples include a survivor of the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis and a Mayo Clinic nurse who grew up in a small primitive village in Somalia.
The Barley Jacks, a foursome offering fiddle, guitar, bass and drum, feature both original vocals and a mix of traditional bluegrass, celtic, rhythm and blues and bebop.
Go to www.oldwadenarendezvous.org for more information on the performers.
New this year for those coming to the rendezvous will be free bus rides by the Wadena County Friendly Rider bus service. Starting at 10 a.m., anyone in Staples can have a bus pick them up by calling 218-631-5730. In Wadena, pickups will be on the hour at the Humphrey Manor and the Wadena Depot with ample parking available. Return rides to either Staples or Wadena will be made every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Wadena County native Dick Oehlenschlager, an assistant curator at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, will offer guided tours with interesting information about the biology of Wadena County at three different times each day.
There will be opportunities for youth to participate in making a birdhouse to take home, playing games from the 1800s with the Crow Wing Muzzleloaders members and run after candy from their Candy Cannon.
Admission for adults 12 and older is $10 for the weekend. Kids 12 and under are free.
There will be a maximum $25 admission for families.
The rendezvous is made possible, in part, by support from Five Wings Arts Council, Staples Host Lions, Wadena County, Arvig, First International Bank and Trust, Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Verndale Lions and StarBank in Verndale. Members of the Old Wadena Society provide both volunteers and funding.
The event is sponsored by Unity Bank.