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Homefest 2016 just around the corner

Posted 6/14/16 (Tue)

Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

If country music, golf or mud volleyball, aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe rock music, a street fair or a mile run might be.
Regardless, there’s bound to be something for everyone Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, as Homefest  returns for Watford City’s annual summer homecoming, a weekend of events that can draw up to about 1,500 people to Main Street a night for festivities.
Homefest gets rolling Friday morning with a one-mile kids’ run around town. In years past, the Connie Wold Wellness Center had organized the run, said Keith Larson, Watford City Park District’s recreation coordinator, but this year, the Park District is behind it.
The run is set to start around 8 or 9 a.m. Friday, June 24, with the Park District working with Watford City Police on the best route.
“Obviously we’ve got to shut down some roads so we’re trying to do the path of least resistance to help them out so they don’t have to shut down a bunch of streets,” Larson said.
Friday also has food and a Main Street concert lined up from 5 p.m. to midnight. Contention, a country rock group from Minnesota, will perform.
“We wanted a rock band for Friday night because we will have a country band then for Saturday,” said Mary Gumke, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce coordinator.
The Friday food and music will cordon off Main Street between the 100 and 200 blocks, Gumke added. Five or six vendors will be on hand serving hamburgers, brats and other street fair food.
In case of rain, festivities will move to the Veterans Memorial Building at 112 Second Ave. NE.
Friday night will also see a 7 p.m. performance of the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “The Frog Prince” at the Intermediate School at 100 Third St. NE, put on by the Park District for the last three years, Larson said.
A range of events happen Saturday for Homefest, with the street fair starting at 11 a.m. on Main Street.
“That’ll be on two blocks of Main Street,” Gumke said, with food, arts and craft vendors.
The McKenzie County Farmers Union is sponsoring a kids zone of bouncy houses in the empty lot on the 200 block of Main Street from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Homefest folks can also attend the Watford City parade of homes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day with a contest included.
At noon Saturday, Homefest’s baby pageant will take place on the Main Street music stage with children, ages 0 to 24 months.
When the baby pageant starts, so will a co-ed mud volleyball tournament at the Tourist Park on Fourth Avenue Northeast. Teams must have three men and three women, Larson said, with registration ongoing.
“It’s a good time,” he said. “It usually lasts four to five hours depending on the number of teams.”
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Trish Gravos Memorial Golf Scramble will start at the Fox Hills Golf Course on Highway 23, with registration and lunch followed by a 2 p.m. shotgun start.
Hors d’oeuvres and prizes will follow. Entry fees are $50 per person with registration available at the golf course or by phone.
Saturday also sees another performance of “The Frog Prince” at 2 p.m. at the middle school.
Then from 6-8 p.m., Gumke said she hopes to have adult party games in a fenced area behind Main Street’s bars. Potential games could include Jumbo Jenga, ladder golf and beer pong.
Homefest used to have a beer garden on Main Street, Gumke said, but the fenced area proved difficult.
“If you came up to eat and drink and you had kids, your kids had to be on the other side of the fence, so it wasn’t very family-friendly,” Gumke said. “We want to be more family-friendly.”
Drinking is allowed on Main Street from 5 p.m. to midnight with wristbands and a $2 cup required for all those 21 and over, Gumke said.
Jessie Veeder and Outlaw Sippin’ will play for the street dance from 8 p.m. to midnight after local artists warm up the stage starting at 5 p.m.
Summer fun continues in the area later this season with Arnegard’s Fourth of July Celebration, the McKenzie County Fair comes July 7-9 at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds in Watford City and then Aug. 12, Best of the West Ribfest 2016 arrives on Watford City’s Main Street with a street fair, car and truck show, kids’ games and other entertainment.