ECFE’s Fall Family Fun event returns to Buena Vista

BEMIDJI — Bemidji Early Childhood Family Education's annual Fall Family Fun event returned to Buena Vista Ski Area on Tuesday after the coronavirus halted the annual event for several years.

“We’re a group of teachers that organize this event,” Bemidji Community Education Director Rachel Amdahl said. “We’ve had two years off and haven't had the event since before Covid-19, I’m really excited to be back out here again.”

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Attendees ride on a wagon during an ECFE family event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

On a sunny, brisk evening full of horse-drawn wagon rides, playing on hay bales and an opportunity to climb to the top of the ski hill to see the bursts of yellow and orange in the trees, parents and grandparents brought their children for an evening of family fun.

“We have wagon rides outside with horses and the kids can run and play in the hills if they want and come back inside for a meal,” Amdahl said. “It's just a fun family get-together.”

Coming together to support ECFE and other area readiness programs, hundreds of families gathered as everyone, especially Early Childhood Coordinator Janel Slough, was happy the event was back.

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Early Childhood Coordinator Janel Slough visits with attendees during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“We are back in full force, we usually have around 350 people come to this event every year,” Slough said as she greeted the families coming into the chalet.

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Muffy Dickinson plays the piano during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Hot dogs, chips, veggies and cookies were served inside. Families enjoyed their meal as Muffy Dickinson, a relative of the ski lodge owner and pianist played the keys for the event-goers.

Behind the chalet and up the grassy slope, other families were climbing to the top of the hill with children leading the way.

“The big hit is to run up and down the ski hills and count the lakes (you can see from) the top,” Slough said. “It’s a nice event for the early childhood program and it’s nice to see families excited to be here again.”

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Attendees hike up the ski hill during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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Event-goers pet the horses during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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Attendees play on the hay bales during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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A child waves before a wagon ride during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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Attendees wait in line for a wagon ride during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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Attendees hike to the top of the ski hill during an ECFE Fall Family Fun event on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Buena Vista Ski Area.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer


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