Thousands expected at this year’s Pope County Community Expo

Hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors will converge on Minnewaska Area High School on April 7 for the 8th annual Pope County Community Expo. Contributed photo

“There is definitely something for all ages and families at the Pope County Community Expo,” said Scott Formo, executive director of the Glenwood Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, and Expo planning committee member. “It is going to be a fun day for everyone.”

Thousands are expected for the eigth annual Pope County Community Expo, one of the largest free events in the area. The Expo will take place on Saturday, April 7,  from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Minnewaska Area High School (located halfway between Glenwood and Starbuck on State Highway 28).

“The high school will be buzzing,” said Kay Blauert, Glenwood Welcome Center executive director and Expo committee member.

The theme of this year’s event will focus on the many changes currently taking place in Pope County and showcase what the entire area has to offer.

Changes in Pope County will be on full display at this year’s Pope County Community Expo, including information about the upcoming Glenwood Complete Streets project. Contributed photo

“There are a lot of big changes going on in the county right now, and it is exciting to see all the growth,” said Formo. “The Expo will give people an idea of what has already been done (hospital, business expansion) and what is coming in 2018 and beyond.

“One of the biggest projects, the 2018 Complete Streets project in Glenwood, will start in the spring,” said Formo. “Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the city of Glenwood, Pope County, engineers, and the general contractors will be on hand to talk about this year’s project, which is slated to kick off in the coming weeks. In addition, several others will be on hand for the other two upcoming MnDOT projects… the 2019 resurfacing of State Highway 28 between Glenwood and Starbuck, and the 2020 Complete Streets project in Starbuck.”         

Runestone Off-Road Cyclists project. Contributed photo

Several other special guests have been invited to exhibit their recent changes and additions in Pope County. The Runestone Off-Road Cyclists (ROC) will have a booth at the Expo to show the construction of several miles of off-road mountain biking trails through the wooded hills in Barsness Park (Glenwood). The new biking trails have been done in partnership with the city of Glenwood, Glenwood Rotary Club, the Klick Foundation and others. Friends of Glacial Lakes State Park and the Glenwood Rotary Club will also have an exhibit showing their progress on recent changes and additions to Pope County.

The Pope County Historical Society will have a booth at the Expo featuring the Pope County Archaeological Survey that will showcase the recent survey project, preliminary results, and future plans. The Pope County Archaeological Survey is part of an ongoing effort by the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Historical Society to improve our understanding of the long-term history of the state.

Findings from recent archeological digs in the area. Contributed photo

Archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC, including Dave Maki, Sigrid Arnott, and Kent Bakken, researched and presented the different methods they used, from field walking to ground penetrating radar, and about how artifacts were “decoded” to help paint a picture of life in Pope County over the last 13,000 years.  The archaeologists also researched and discussed previous archaeological work in the county beginning in the 1880s, the kinds of archaeological sites found, and what these findings tell us.

With thousands of people expected for this year’s event, the Pope County Community Expo will make use of just about every area of the high school, including the auditorium, both gymnasiums, pool area, the wrestling room, classrooms, cafeteria, courtyard, sidewalks and parking lots. There are approximately 150 exhibitors at this year’s Expo, plus several special events, activities, things to buy, food, and entertainment taking place throughout the day, including:

Kid’s fishing seminar by Nancy Koep, Koep’s Bait, 9:30 a.m.

“Stuff-N-Fluff FUNshop” workshop (kids can make their own stuffed dog), 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. (limited quantities for each workshop)

Yoga demonstration on stand-up paddleboard, by Hangloose, 9:30 a.m.

Glenwood Taekwondo demonstration, 9:30 a.m.

Virtual Law Enforcement Ride-Along, a simulator which puts people into interactive scenarios that law enforcement face on a regular basis, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (ages 16 and older)

Heart Health seminar by Dr. Lunzer, Glacial Ridge Health System, 10:45 a.m.

Basic Beginner Yoga by Barb Ostrander, 10:45 a.m.

Pilates demonstration on stand-up paddleboard, by Hangloose, 11 a.m.

Minnesota Zoo Mobile, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Meditation by Nancy Young, 12 p.m.

Animal Health seminar by Dr. Jean, Glacial Ridge Vet Clinic,  12 p.m.

Self-defense, by Dane Ankeny, 1:15 p.m.

  Adult fishing seminar, by Nancy Koep, Koep’s Bait, 1:15 p.m.

  Stand-up paddle-board demonstration, 2 p.m.

Other free family friendly activities taking place throughout the day (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) include:

Kids’ inflatable

Glitter tattoos by Jeanne & Company

  A photo booth with props (fun for all ages)

• Lions Club KidSight (basic vision screening program for children)

KOOL-TV Greater MN Now Weekend live broadcast, 9-11 a.m. followed by the KOOL-TV weatherman green screen

Erickson’s Petting Zoo (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

“The first 500 visitors will also get a free duffle bag, just for coming,” said Blauert. “And there are a lot of giveaways and drawings at the booths.” 

Another feature at this year’s fair will be the Lions Club KidSight, a basic vision screening program for children. Contributed photo

Everything is free, unless you wish to make a purchase from several retail exhibitors, include Tupperware, Avon, Tastefully Simple, Norwex,, and others. Food court options including A&W, Pizza Ranch, Minnewaska House, Hatchery Bar & Grill, Minnewaska Meats, Koeps Taco Stand, etc.

“We have a lot of booths taken, but we do have room for a few more exhibitors, and we offer several different size booth and pricing options,” Formo said. “Exhibitors and attendees come from all over the state to participate and enjoy the Pope County Community Expo.”

With all the people coming and going, parking can be a challenge. “We have a park and ride system set up,” said Formo. “Rainbow Rider will provide a free shuttle from Starbuck and Glenwood throughout the day. There will be multiple shuttles in both cities to and from the high school. Park and ride locations in Glenwood include the east side of the Shopko parking lot and American Solutions for Business parking lot (located on South Franklin Street across from the Glenwood Senior Center). You can also park at the Minnewaska House, located on Highway 28 between Glenwood and Starbuck, and at the Starbuck Community Center. Rainbow Rider bus shuttles will provide continuous service from 9:00 – 2:00 (from park and ride locations to the high school) and will continue to bring people back to their vehicles until 3:30 p.m.

The Pope County Community Expo is one of the largest events in Pope County and wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing efforts of the Expo planning committee. Formo and Blauert are very grateful for the planning committee efforts and wish to thank this year’s planning committee volunteers, including Joanna Curry, Jeannie Pederson, Lloyd Campbell, Mike Claunch, Jennifer Chan, and Angela VanZee, as planning for this event takes place all year long.            

For more information about the Pope County Community Expo, or to learn more about exhibiting at the Expo, register online at, contact Scott or Kay at 320-634-3636 or email The Glenwood Lakes Area Chamber and Welcome Center is located at 7 First Street NW, Glenwood, MN 56334.