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AS I SEE IT

Posted 6/20/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

While the summer season may have officially arrived on June 21, the real kickoff of summer in Watford City is coming this weekend with the return of Homefest. And, what an exciting time is on tap as the community welcomes back friends and family members to a great weekend of fun and entertainment.
Watford City’s Homefest began following the city’s 75th anniversary in 1989 when several Jubilee members decided that if the community could set aside one weekend a year for class and family reunions and have some special entertainment, Watford City could build an annual event that could be a focal point for the start of the summer.
Obviously, the idea caught on. Combine a couple of street dances with a variety of special events with family and class reunions and you have all the ingredients you need for a great weekend.
Headlining this year’s events will be the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Treasure Island,” and street dances on Friday and Saturday. But there is much more happening to make it a fun weekend in Watford City including a Homefest Run, a Street Fair and kids games on Main Street, a Parade of Homes, baby and pet pageants, a veterans tribute and the Trish Gravos Memorial Golf Scramble to name just a few.
So once again, Watford City is ready to roll out the red carpet to former residents and classmates who probably have been back to the community for several years. And no doubt that they will be surprised, and hopefully pleased by the changes that this community has seen over the past several years.
For many of our returning guests, Watford City is no longer the small, sleepy town that they remember. From the new road systems to the new high school and Rough Rider Center, from new retail businesses that have opened to the new housing complexes that have been constructed, the changes that former residents will see when they return to the community for the first time in many years will be outstanding.
To say that this community has changed a lot is an understatement. And even for us that live here, the amount of change and the level of new development that has happened since 2013 is hard to comprehend. So imagine what former graduates or residents of Watford City, who haven’t been back to town for 10 or more years are going to think. The slow lifestyle that most former Watford City residents fondly remember of years ago has been replaced with a much different lifestyle with bypasses around our city and four-lane highways built to accommodate increased truck and other oilfield traffic. And we now have nearly as many students in our school system as we had residents in the entire community in 2010.
While Watford City may have changed, Homefest has not. It is still one weekend a year that is set aside for families, classmates and former residents to return home to Watford City to renew old acquaintances and to make new friends.
So whether you are a former Watford City resident or one of the thousands of new residents to our community, welcome to Homefest!