Posted 7/10/13 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
After years of declining numbers, last year’s McKenzie County Fair showed a surprising turnaround. Where before the fair attendance struggled along with vendor commitments, this year the Fair Board is having to turn vendors away.
The good showing by McKenzie County fair-goers has given this year’s Fair Board much to hope for, as well as plan for.
On top of the traditional fair events during this year’s Fair, which starts July 11, Janel Lee of the McKenzie County Fair Board, states that the Fair Board has tried to ensure that there will be enough entertainment and food to not only suit the number of attendees that showed last year, but also to meet the needs of a potentially larger crowd.
“Last year there were so many people that we ran out of food,” states Lee. “So this year we have added more food vendors.”
According to Carolyn Levang, Fair Board secretary, the McKenzie County Fair has roughly six food vendors, making everything from hamburgers and homemade pie to Indian Tacos and Kettle Corn. All-in-all, various vendors will sell Tacos-In-A-Bag, Mini-Donuts, Corn Dogs and Cheese Curds.
In addition, Fun Time Carnival will return with even more attractions than they brought last year.
Fun Time Carnival made their first appearance at the McKenzie County Fair in 2012, even though the Fair Board could not guarantee ticket sales. Their willingness to take a risk on McKenzie County and their family-friendly practices has given them priority above other carnivals.
“We had a lot of good comments on the carnival we brought in last year. They were clean, polite and very family-friendly,” states Lee. “Why would we bring in another carnival when we had such a good experience with this one? Especially, since they came when no one else would.”
The carnival, however, is just one of the attractions to this year’s bustling McKenzie County Fair.
“We are bringing back Matt Sorrenson, who is a spray paint artist that was here a few years ago,” states Lee.
Sorrenson spray paints murals on cars as part of a nighttime program. Lee states that Sorrenson uses fire, and other crowd-pleasing techniques as part of his show.
The Fair Board has also decided to add a dance, with the band, SmokeHouse, on both Friday and Saturday evenings. The dance will be held outside, weather permitting, and will be appropriate for all ages.
Another new event is Jake’s Take AIM, which is geared toward teaching children the knowledge, ethics and sportsmanship involved with the tradition of responsible hunting.
The McKenzie County Fair opens with 4-H and Open Class Exhibits and judging on Wednesday, July 10. Much of the weekend’s entertainment, while not open on Wednesday, will be at the fairgrounds setting up.
Then, from Thursday, July 11, to Saturday, July 13, the carnival, along with Curly’s Funtastic Kid Zone and Jake’s Take Aim Shooting Trailer will be open for ‘business.’
Kids can also enjoy face painting, a Bean Bag Toss, the KIDDYUP Goat Roping and the Dunk-a-Cop, which is sponsored by the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department.
On Thursday at 4 p.m., the McKenzie County Fair Parade will cruise down Watford City’s Main Street, followed by the Free Beef Barbecue at 5:30 in the Multi-Purpose Building. The Olaf Leiseth Jr. Memorial Draft Horse Competition begins at 7 p.m. in the Rodeo Arena.
On Friday, 4-H judging continues along with an awards presentation in the afternoon. The Demolition Derby will begin at 6 p.m. in the Rodeo Arena, and at 9 p.m., the band SmokeHouse will play for a dance that will take place on the Midway of the fairgrounds.
The Youth Rodeo begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the Multi-Purpose Building with the Lil’ Buckaroo Rodeo beginning at 3 p.m in the Livestock Show Area. The NDRA Rodeo will begin at 6 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Building and will be followed by another ‘SmokeHouse’ Dance on the Midway at 9 p.m.
A General Admission button to the fair will cost $5 and will be good for all three days of the fair. Tickets for the Demolition Derby and the NDRA Rodeo are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages six through 13, and children five and under are free.