Posted 8/28/19 (Wed)
By Neal A. ShipmanFarmer Editor
As the long Labor Day weekend approaches, and with all of
McKenzie County schools now back in session for another year, it is obvious that summer is officially over.
But there is still one last big event on tap in McKenzie County as another summer comes to a close. And that is Alexander’s Old Settlers’ Day.
Now in its 74th year, Old Settlers’ Day is steeped in a long tradition dating back to when Len Burns decided that it was time for the area residents get together to celebrate the end of the harvest season.
As the story goes, Burns said that he would donate the beef for a barbecue if the area residents pitched in to help with the celebration. And for 74 years, Burns’ ideas has continued in Alexander as every year a family steps forward to donate the beef and the community comes together to make it all happen. And according to the old timers in the community, a Watford City newspaper editor by the name of Fred Shipman, my grandfather, helped teach them the secrets of pit barbecuing a beef.
Like so many community celebrations, Old Settlers’ Day has faithfully clung to what makes it the longest running annual event in McKenzie County. And the secret of its success is its simplicity. If you throw a party that includes a barbecue and toss in a parade, lots of games for the entire family and provide opportunities to visit with friends and neighbors, you have everything that you need.
For the past 74 years, there have been rainstorms, cold and windy days, and even a snow flurry or two that have dampened the event. But more times than not, Mother Nature has smiled on Old Settlers’ Day with bright, sunny skies and mild temperatures.
And for 74 years, the families and businesses in and around the Alexander community have come together to make this very special event happen.
Saturday is the big day with a parade down Main Street at 11 a.m., followed by the noon barbecue. But throughout the day there will be plenty of other things to do as there will be a Kid’s Carnival, Bingo in the Park, a horseshoe tournament, and a Comets football game against Midway/Minto before wrapping up with a street dance.
So if you are looking for something different to do this weekend, head over to Alexander and take in all of this year’s events.