July 5, 2016


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

With the arrival of the McKenzie County Fair this week in Watford City, we can pretty much lay to rest the claim that there is never anything to do around McKenzie County. For three straight weekends, this county has been busting with special events - namely, Watford City’s Homefest two weekends ago, which was immediately followed by Arnegard’s 4th of July celebration.
And now this week, it’s Watford City’s turn to get back in the spotlight as the McKenzie County Fair kicks off a three-day run on Thursday.
You can just call it another fun-filled week in McKenzie County! Because that is what it is going to be with the fair providing three full days of family fun with tons of free shows, youth activities, a youth rodeo, a draft horse competition, as well as the excitement of a Demolition Derby and a NDRA Rodeo.
But what everyone likes most about a county fair is a carnival and lots of food. And this year, the Fair Board has done a good job of ensuring that both of these needs have been met.
Which is good news for fair-goers, who were disappointed last year when the carnival showed up with just a few rides, and the handful of food booths that set up quickly ran out of food.
Obviously, the evening entertainment lineup is what draws many people to a fair. But let’s face it, a great selection of food, and lots of it, as well as a quality carnival and midway is what keeps fair-goers returning every evening. A quality fair, and one that continues to draw more and more people each year, needs to be a complete package.
Building a quality fair takes time. Ever since Watford City’s and McKenzie County’s population exploded, the volunteer fair board has had a tough job of bringing more and more entertainment to a fairgrounds that lacks the space for a big carnival, a larger midway or even more food booths.
So the McKenzie County Fair faces a Catch-22 dilemma.
On the one hand, it’s hard to bring in a carnival with more rides and a larger midway, as well as have more food booths that many people would like to see, when you have a fairgrounds that has such limited space, as does ours.
But on the other hand, considering that the fairgrounds is only used a few times each year, does it make sense to try and find a new parcel of land close to Watford City where a new and larger fairgrounds could be built?
Ultimately, if the McKenzie County Fair is going to be able to grow to meet the county’s population needs, the fair board and the McKenzie County Commissioners are going to have to address that issue.
But in the meantime, go out and enjoy the fun and entertainment at this year’s McKenzie County Fair.