Turtle Races

Turtle Races may seem sort of strange, but it has been a part of our community for nearly 40 years! It’s just second nature to us. This family-friendly event attracts thousands of racers from all over the world each summer. It is an experience that you won’t want to miss! Here are some of the most frequently asked ones to get you started. If you have more, feel free to give us a call at (218) 346-7710.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What time do the races start? Registration begins at 10:00am. The races start at 10:30am.
  • Where are the races held? They are held in Turtle Race Park, next to the Perham Area Chamber at 185 East Main Street in Perham.
  • How do the turtle races work? The racers gather in the center circle and release their turtles when the whistle blows. We all watch while the turtles make their way to the outer circle. The first turtle to the outside ring wins! The heat winners are then gathered to race again until we have the top three places.
  • How old (or young) do you have to be to participate? Anyone can race as long as they can get to the center of the track! We encourage racers of all ages, and we have volunteers available to help if you are unable (or a feeling a bit too jumpy) to hold onto the turtle.
  • How much does it cost? We ask for a $1 donation per racer. The proceeds are used to take care of the turtles over the summer.
  • Are turtles provided? Yes, we have turtles available for use. A family takes care of them all summer and brings them to town for us each week.
  • Can I bring my own turtle? Absolutely! If you have been training a turtle for the races, we’d love to see what he or she can do. Just bring your turtle in a bucket so it doesn’t get away from you!
  • Are other pets allowed? Please, no pets other than turtles allowed in the park during the races.
  • How long do the races take? Each individual race takes a few minutes. Depending on how many people we have, the races can last an hour to two hours.
  • Why are they called the International Turtle Races? We call it International because people from all over the world join us to race turtles.

2019 Turtle Race Winners:

Turtle Fest (June 14, 2019) Winners – Announcer Jan Wilson is shown with our First Place winner, Alyssa H.  from Bloomington, MN, Second Place winner, Kailey Klinder from Mankato, MN, and Third Place winner, Jack Stoderl from Perham. A big thank you to all who joined us today for our special, Friday Turtle Fest race!

Week Two (June 12, 2019) Winners – Miss Perham Outstanding Teen, Lizzy Lafond and Announcer Dave Howey from Lakes 99.5 is shown with our First Place winner, Andy Campbell from Santan Valley, AZ, Second Place winner, Cyrus from Washington DC, and Third Place winner, Maddie from Chicago Illinois. A big thank you to all who joined us today!

Week One (June 5, 2019) Winners – Miss Perham Outstanding Teen, Lizzy Lafond is shown with our First Place winner, Austin Balbach from New York Mills, Minnesota, Second Place winner, A J Curtz from Bondurant, Iowa, and Third Place winner, Reese Pekarek from Freemont, Nebraska. A big thank you to all who joined us for the first Turtle Race of the 2019 season!


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