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AS I SEE IT

Posted 7/10/19 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The return of Homefest to Watford City’s Main Street this coming weekend caps off three straight weeks of family-fun events in McKenzie County that started with the McKenzie County Fair and then Arnegard’s 4th of July Celebration.
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 would be a focal point for the summer season.
Obviously, the idea caught on. And in spite of a few hiccups over the years, the tradition for Homefest has continued. It had a simple formula, which was to combine a couple of street dances with a variety of special events with family and class reunions and you could have an event that would draw former residents and classmates back to town, as well as provide a special weekend for the thousands of new Watford City residents.
And thanks to area businesses who are sponsoring many of the events, Homefest just keeps growing and getting better each and every year.
Headlining this year’s events will be the annual Missoula Children’s Theatre production and street dances on Main Street on Friday and Saturday. But there is much more happening to make it a fun weekend in Watford City including a Relay For Life Run, a Street Fair and kids games on Main Street, a baby pageant and pet parade, tours of the new McKenzie County Healthcare Systems’ facility, tons of activities at Art in the Park, the Trish Gravos Memorial Golf Scramble, an art exhibit by former Watford City resident Miles Bendixson, as well as sand volleyball and family kickball tournaments.
If it sounds like fun, it will be.
So once again, Watford City is ready to roll out the red carpet to former residents and classmates who probably have not been back to the community for several years. And no doubt 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. We have grown from a sleepy little town of 1,500 people to a thriving community of over 7,500.
To say that this community has changed a lot is an understatement. And even for us that lived here prior to 2013, the amount of change that has come to Watford City 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 as the city has grown to accommodate thousands of new residents.
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!