Annual Events


The Great American Think-Off: a philosophy contest for everyone

The Great American Think-Off is an annual philosophy competition open to all at no cost. To participate, submit an essay on-line by clicking on the headline above, by email to, or by mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567.

Deadline for submission of your essay (maximum of 750 words) is April 1. Four finalists will be selected from those submitting essays by the deadline and invited to debate their opponents on the second Saturday of June.

The Think-Off was begun by Cultural Center founder John Davis and has been held annually since 1993. Finalists each receive $500 and all travel and lodging expenses to New York Mills for the June debate.

Full details about the contest are available here.

Kalevala Puppet Pageant: annual summer theater production

The Puppet Pageant happens each year as part of the community Corn Feed in August. The artistic director for the Pageant in its first two years was Annie Katsura-Rollins. Since 2011, Anne Sawyer has assumed duties as artistic director, and Lisa Winter serves as assistant director.

Each year adults and kids help develop the story, make puppets, and practice stilt walking, dancing, and playing for two weeks before the Pageant happens. The characters that appear each year are from the epic Finnish poem, the Kalevala.

This activity is made possible each year thanks to support from the Min­nesota State Arts Board, the New York Mills Civic & Commerce Association, the City of New York Mills, the McKnight Foundation, and the members and business supporters of the Cultural Center in New York Mills.

Below are some photos of past productions.

Fish House Festival / NYM Summer Celebration / Lund Mania

The Fish House Festival holds fun for the whole family!

1st or 2nd Friday in July ~ All Day Event

Join us on Main Avenue in front of the Cultural Center for activities from 10am to 4pm! Activities include artists painting fish houses in the street, games, music, food, and youth decoy painting. Come inside the Center to cool off and view the annual Decoy Show & Nature Art in the Gallery. Two fish houses will be available to the community through a raffle and live auction to be held at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Fire Hall on Centennial Drive. Decoys and other outdoor art will also be included in the live auction, hosted annually by Perala Bros. Auctioneers.

General Schedule of Events

  • 10am-4pm Artists Painting on Main Ave
  • 10am-4pm 5th Annual Decoy Show & Sporting Art Through Time Exhibit
  • 10am-4pm Raffle tickets (until sold out!) and auction numbers (free!) available @ Cultural Center
  • 12pm-3pm Fish-themed “Art in Your Park” arts & craft activities for children upstairs at the Cultural Center
  • 12pm-4pm Free Kids/Family Activities & Food for Sale (until gone!) on Main Avenue
  • 1pm-2:30pm Youth Decoy Painting Workshop ($5), outside NYM Public Library
  • 4:30pm-6:30pm Raffle tickets (until sold out!) and auction numbers (free!) available on Centennial Ave
  • 6:30pm Raffle Drawing and Live Auction on Centennial Ave: fish house and decoys painted during Festival + other outdoor art

Call the Cultural Center at (218) 385-3339 for more information.

THANKS to Fish House Festival sponsor Lund Boats!

Click here to learn more about Lund Boats and The Ultimate Fishing Experience.

Letterpress print created by local artist Nikki Thompson.

Longest Night Music Festival:
annual winter solstice celebration of local music + community

A local favorite for staff, musicians, and community members, this fun and festive free event is a wonderful chance to PAUSE + CONNECT with neighbors and friends amidst the flurry of holiday activities.

Held each year on the Winter Solstice, December 21st, the Longest Night is the Cultural Center’s way of celebrating local artists and the community. Each year, a lineup of approximately 7 local/regional musicians each share several songs, featuring a variety of music genres. This event helps us fulfill our vision to “celebrate the local” and say THANKS to all of our donors, volunteers, and supporters that make our work possible all year long!

While the Longest Night has always been free in order to be most accessible to all, it is not without cost. We welcome sponsorships and donations to support the artists who perform at the Longest Night Music Festival. Contact to be a sponsor, or make a donation at the event.

The Longest Night begins each year on December 21 at 7:00. Doors open at 6:30. Refreshments and cash bar available. ALL are welcome!