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Fair sets attendance record

Posted 7/18/12 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

This year’s McKenzie County Fair delivered on its promises. With stellar 4-H and Open Class Exhibits and a jam-packed schedule of events including a carnival, Demolition Derby and NDRA Rodeo, there was something to ‘bring out the kid’ in everyone.
Calli Thorne, McKenzie County NDSU Extension agent who works with the 4-H says that the fair and the 4-H go hand-in-hand.
“The fair is a big showcase time for the kids who have been working hard all year,” states Thorne. “It gives them a chance to show off their hard work.”
A first-time 4-H participant, Haylee Widman won third place with a lamb she entered in the 4-H Livestock Show.
“It went well except the lamb was ornery and kept nudging me,” Haylee states. But that won’t deter her. “Next year I want to enter a steer and maybe a pig.”
Thorne states that 4-H teaches responsibility.
“The kids have to show that over the past year, they have been working with the animal, have broken it and that the animal responds to them,” Thorne states. “It’s hard work.”
Charlie Hystad has been involved with it for the last nine years, and this being her last year, she will miss it.
“I feel like it’s helped to prepare me for life and taught me the value of things,” Hystad states.
This year’s Livestock Sale not only did well for the kids, but for a little girl diagnosed with leukemia.
“Heather Wisness used to work with the 4-H, and just recently her daughter, Clara, was diagnosed with leukemia. Some of the youth that participated in the Livestock Sale chose to give a portion of their check back and donate it to Clara,” states Thorne. “They donated back over $5,000.”
After the 4-H and Open Class shows and the 4-H Livestock Sale, Thursday evening’s free barbecue and the Funtime Carnival drew a huge crowd of people as did Friday evening’s Demolition Derby and Saturday’s NDRA Rodeo. And anyone who wasn’t interested in any of that had plenty of other options.
All over, kids were seen smiling and having a good time. They had their faces painted, they played in the kid zone or enjoyed the contests, or maybe or maybe not to their parents’ liking, they were holding bags of fish won from the carnival.
Adults, alike, caught up with their friends, had lunch and enjoyed the entertainment.
Though thunderstorms and rain threatened to ruin Saturday’s schedule, they only added to the atmosphere.
“The weather has actually been nicer, because it isn’t as hot,” states Callie Smith, a teen who worked at the LIFE food booth.
The fair brought derby and rodeo enthusiasts and contestants, carnival patrons, parents and kids of all ages as well as many newcomers.
One newcomer in particular was a truck driver who stopped in to see what was “going on,” and left with two slushburgers to-go.
“I call them sloppy joes,” he states. “I was so excited to find them. I’ve been looking for sloppy joes on the road for a while and haven’t found them yet.”
The fair was so packed that food vendors began running out of food on Saturday evening, before the fair was over.
According to Janel Lee, of the fair board, this year’s fair set records all the way around.
“We had record attendances for the derby, and the rodeo was well attended, too,” states Lee. “The fair in general had a record number of visitors, all the food booths did very well and the carnival was also very pleased.”
According to Lee, the fair board is in the process of negotiating with Funtime Carnival for an appearance at next year’s fair.