Just 30 km west of Fort Frances, Betty and Wayne Salchert spent a lifetime building a legacy within the Rainy River District.
Building a tiny town that is, which boasts its own bank, courthouse, shops and an array of priceless antiques.
But what the duo didn’t anticipate upon its inception was the property’s role in building community through events like the once-annual “Mud Lake City Music Fest.”
Though it has been five years since Mud Lake City welcomed district residents to enjoy its coveted festival, the tiny western-style town will be reopening its saloon doors next month in hopes of reviving tradition.
“We weren’t going to do it again,” said Betty Salchert.
“But, there were just so many people asking us about it we thought we would try it again this year and see what happened.
“We figured if we were going to do it again now would be the time, because we are going to start downsizing soon.” she added.
Though the comeback project hasn’t been in the works for long, Salchert claimed the duo has already spent countless hours preparing for the event.
“It’s a lot of work keeping up the venue and we have let a lot of things slide down there,” she admitted.
The maintenance can be really overwhelming,” Salchert added, referencing fixing-up the boardwalks and hauling in new gravel for parking areas to be among the myriad tasks at hand.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge, but that’s okay—we will get there,” she noted.
Salchert was quick to add that despite the time investment, she was looking forward to hosting musicians and onlookers alike.
“All of the performers are local musicians, but they are pretty good players,” she said, citing that the venue takes pride in being the first venue some aspiring musicians ever play.
“It is very casual and everyone just enjoys wandering around, looking at our junk and visiting,” Salchert continued.
“Over the years, it’s really become a place for the community to go and just visit with music in the background.”
According to Salchert, the festival’s entertainment line-up promises a mix of notable guests from years past and up-and-coming artists.
However, the festival is still looking to add “easy listening, bluegrass, country or folk” artists to the weekend’s roster.
She noted that the pair hopes to have the same turn-out as years past despite a change of date, a first for the festival since its creation in 1998.
“We always held it the fourth Sunday in August, but this year we are earlier so hopefully that doesn’t affect anything,” Salchert expressed.
“But, like always, it will be held on a Sunday afternoon,” she added.
“It should be fine, as long as the weather cooperates like it has in years past.”
Though the event is coming together smoothly, the duo is still calling in a few favors from the community to ensure that the event is a success.
“Parking might be an issue this year,” admitted Salchert.
“So, we are looking to have a two or three golf carts out there to work as shuttles throughout the afternoon,” she remarked.
“We are also going to have a working [day] out there a week before to get some of the final things done,” added Salchert. “There are lots of way people can contribute.”
The event is free of admission, but those attending are asked to bring their own chair.
“We will be selling our T-shirts and bologna burgers to pay for our insurance and our costs,” Salchert concluded.
“This is will be the last hoorah—if people allow that this time.” she laughed.
Musical performances will begin around 12 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10.
For more information, contact the Salcherts at 486-3536.