AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
What better way to kick off the start of the summer season than with a big party with lots of friends and family. And that is just what Watford City has on tap this weekend as we welcome back classmates, relatives and friends for yet another Homefest celebration.
For those who may not know what Homefest is, the event had its beginnings after Watford City celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1989. That anniversary celebration was so much fun that people decided to keep the fun happening each and every year. And now 23 years later, the good times just seem to keep on rolling.
The fundamental idea of Homefest hasn’t changed much in the years since it was started. The idea behind the weekend has always been pretty simple - have a couple of street dances, a golf tournament and steak fry, a road race and provide lots of free time for people who are coming back home to rekindle old friendships and to make some new ones in the process.
But it takes a lot more than just dances and reunions to make Homefest a special time both for people coming back home and for those of us living here.
And this year, the Homefest Committee has added some uniquely different events that will take the weekend to a new level.
In addition to the above mentioned activities, this year there will be a concert in the Tourist Park on Thursday evening to kick off Homefest. And then on Friday, Art in the Park is back and will feature special guests Miles Bendixson and Mike Rhodes, as well as other local artists and crafters. And on Saturday, there will be a Street Fair on Main Street, a doggy parade, a baby pageant and a trashiest truck contest. Plus with the Missoula Children’s Theatre back in town with performances on Friday and Saturday, this will be a Homefest to remember.
And what a homecoming it is going to be for those people who haven’t been back to Watford City for several years. To say that this community has changed a lot in the past two years would have to be an understatement. The slow lifestyle that most former Watford City residents fondly remember of years ago has been replaced with a more frantic lifestyle with roads crammed with trucks and other oil-field traffic. The pastures and farmlands along U.S. Highway 85 that once reminded us of our rural lifestyle and provided a calming drive into the city are now lined with oilfield truck yards, oilfield businesses, man camps and proposed residential developments.
Those who will be making their first trip back to Watford City in many years may not recognize the community and all of the changes that are presently occurring.
Some people returning for the first time in many years will like the changes that they see as Watford City grows into a very new and different community than it was five to 10 years ago. Others, however, will reflect back on a slower, more calm time in Watford City and wonder what is happening to their old hometown.
While Watford City may have changed in the last couple of years, the goals of Homefest have not.
So get ready Watford City. Company is coming and we’re treating everyone to a festive weekend.