‘Pickers Paradise’ coming to Lake Benton

It appears the weather will be just right for an outdoor festival, said Carl Burk, an organizer of Lake Benton’s Benton-Fremont Days.

“We had a good rain (Wednesday) night so it knocked down the dust,” he said.

The 15th annual Benton-Fremont Days and Te Tonka Ha Rendezvous start today and go through Sunday at Hole-in-the-Mountain Park in Lake Benton. Benton-Fremont Days take visitors back to the 19th century with flintknapping demonstrations, gun fighting demonstrations and a knife and tomahawk throwing contest among other activities and attractions.

This year’s event will include flintknappers who will participate in the Tatonka or “Buffalo” Knap In. Many flintknappers who have attended the past events in Lake Benton will return to demonstrate their ancient craft of making tools and artifacts of beauty. Observers may ask questions of the knappers about this ancient art or get a lesson on how to chip your own tool or arrowhead.

New this year, and one that promises to be an annual event, is Pickers Paradise.

“The Pickers Paradise, also known as a flea market, will have collectibles, items from the 1900s on up – glassware, cast iron, stained glass – a combination of many different items,” said Burk. “We will have an appraiser of antiquities on hand to help identify articles.”

The weekend events will offer the opportunity for visitors to walk through a camp and ask questions of the many demonstrators on hand about life during the early Western development of Minnesota and the American West. Canoe construction, pottery making, spinning and weaving, cannon demonstrations, Western artists and others – such as Swanson’s Cowboyography and Patrick’s Chuckwagon – are on the grounds all weekend.

A highlight of the weekend will be award-winning cooks Cassandra Swanson and Susan Patrick. Swanson will demonstrate cooking using a Dutch oven. Patrick has won the South Dakota’s Beef Cook-off at the South Dakota State Fair and participated in the World Cook-off in Las Vegas with Adam Richman from the Food Network.

Entertainment and food will be interspersed among the activities all weekend starting at 7 p.m. with Lonny Carpenter on stage and food provided by Doc’s Wild Rice. Saturday evening the Chamber of Commerce and the Benton Fremont Committee will sponsor the Burger Fest and on stage will be the Buffalo Ridge Band.

The old time corn boil will take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Events will continue on Sunday with St. Genevieve’s CCW pie social and buffalo stew will be served at noon.

In addition, drawings will take place Sunday afternoon for more than $1,500 in prizes and gift certificates.

The event is sponsored by the Lake Benton Chamber of Commerce, Lake Benton Historical Society, Benton Fremont Committee and the Brookings Renegades.



Traders row opens in the evening

Range open for practice

Flintknapping demonstrations, all evening

7 p.m. Music on stage, Lonny Carpenter


Traders row open

Pickers Paradise – all day

Shooting events

Hawk and knife throw – to be announced

Flintknapping demonstrations – all day

11 a.m.-1 p.m. Corn boil (free will donation)

11 a.m. Dutch oven cooking with Susan and Steve Patrick

Richard Berreth, canoe building, all day

Swanson Family Cowboyography, all day, cooking demonstrations

Bill Crapser, cannon demonstrations and more, all day

1 p.m. Dave Huebner, pottery demonstrations, Dutch oven cooking – Patrick’s

2 p.m. John Ruffolo – Law and Order and the Wild West

Open demonstrations – spinning and weaving, all day

3 p.m. Butter making with DuWayne Oien

3 p.m. Fur trade

4 p.m. Candy Cannon

5-6:30 p.m. Burger fest, meal by Chamber of Commerce $5

5:30 p.m. Music on stage – Ron and Jane Cote

Evening Music on stage -Buffalo Ridge Band


Indigenous American story- telling and dancing, tipi construction

Pickers Paradise – all day

Flintknapping demonstrations, all day

Swanson Family Cowboyography

Susan and Steve Patrick Chuckwagon

Noon Entertainment – Ron and Jane Cote

Buffalo stew (ticket required)

Corn boil (free will donation)

Pie social by Catholic Ladies CCW

Prizes and drawings, early afternoon