By Michelle Svangstu
The county fair is a staple of fun in rural America, and Divide County fair board member Amy Shaw says this year’s fair looks to be full of exciting events for all ages.
“We really wanted to bring in some new activities this year that appeal to a broader age group,” says Shaw. Friday kicks off with the judging of open-class exhibits, the 4-H Horse Show at 10am, followed by the 1pm opening of the petting zoo, inflatable attractions, and Miss Bows Messy Mania/Mini Ninjas.
“This year’s petting zoo will not only have animals to pet and play with, but they will also be offering pony rides,” notes Amy. In addition to the petting zoo, she says, a new inflatables company will be bringing fun to the midway. “Montana Premier Entertainment is not only bringing in a new set of inflatables, they will also be bringing in some fun things for teens and even adults, such as the Gyro.” The “Human Gyroscope” is the same gyro used by NASA for training astronauts, and is sure to give thrill seekers a wild spin of a ride. They will also be setting up games with prizes on the midway such as “Zorb Bowling” and the “Fun Derby,” - where you can mount your inflatable horse and race your friends and family down the track to victory.
Miss Bows Messy Mania and Mini Ninjas is a free STEAM and STEM Educational Area for kid’s ages 10 and under. “Messy Mania” features non-toxic, kid-friendly mixtures that offer hands-on opportunities to feel and smell a variety of textures, including “slimes and oozes,…dry materials and water play.” Each mixture set-up also includes a variety of toys to scoop, shovel and mix and pour for extra-fun sensory play. In addition to Messy Mania, a “Mini Ninjas” course will be set up for young children to burn off some of their extra energy and keep them entertained in between events. The course offers an opportunity for kids to jump, crawl, run and climb their way to the big red buzzer, which tells each child their run time. Both Messy Mania and Mini Ninjas are free to attendees, and families are welcome to come and go as they please throughout the day.
This year’s free stage attractions, which happen throughout the weekend, are still being finalized but will include the “One Man Circus,” an intriguing act that includes balancing acts, incredible illusions, and magic tricks. Local musician and recent DCHS graduate Emily Jeglum will be performing, and Shaw notes they are hoping to bring in local vocalists the Songbirds as well as the West Park Band. In addition, she says, “if anyone is interested in performing on the free stage, they can contact the fair board. We’re always looking for new talent.” Amy also notes that “Up Your Axe” axe throwing will be open Friday and Saturday on the Midway. “This is a great option for teens and adults to do something different than the typical summer sports they usually take in,” she says.
Friday evening festivities kick off at 5:30pm, when the Divide County Rodeo Ag Olympics makes it’s debut, followed by Barrel Racing at 7pm. Singer Ashley Wineland rounds out the night at The Watering Hole. “There isn’t a cover change for any of the live music,” says Amy. And while The Watering Hole is only for adults 21 and older, there will be an outdoor area set up for teens to hang out and enjoy the music each night.
Saturday’s celebrations fire-up with the annual main street parade, beginning at noon, followed by the Mud Blitz run at 1:15pm and the opening of the mid-way at 1pm. “We encourage everyone to pre-register their parade entries,” says Shaw, “but people can enter the day of.” Floats are asked to line up and check-in at the DCHS Parking lot starting at 10:30am. “We want to be ready to hit main street as soon as the noon whistle blows,” she notes. Other Saturday activities include the FBLA annual fundraisers, “Bessie’s Business,” and “Tie Dye a T-Shirt.” The rodeo ramps up again at 1:30pm with the first annual Roy Olin Memorial Shootout, which will also feature a women’s breakaway event. For those looking for some extra help with summer projects, the annual 4H/FFA livestock and labor auction begins at 3pm. “Money in the Straw” will be held for the youth at 5pm, and Demolition Derby fans can watch their favorite drivers rev up the track at 7pm in the Grandstand. And for those little racers in your life, a kid’s “Power Wheels Derby” will be one of the night’s featured events. To end your action-packed small-town Saturday night, sing and dance the night away to Eli Alger and the Faster Horses down at the Water Hole.
Sunday morning will feature a new opportunity for breakfast, shares Shaw, with the Boy Scouts hosting a Pancake Feed from 8-11am. The annual community church service will be held at 9am on the free stage and is open to everyone. The Divide County Rodeo kicks off it’s final day with the Youth Ranch Rodeo beginning at 10am, followed by Mutton Bustin’ for your little ranch-hands. Finally, get ready for action-packed entertainment when your favorite cowboys and cowgirls take the arena and compete for bragging rights in the Adult Ranch Rodeo, slated to begin at 3pm.
The weekend will conclude with the Fortuna Curling Club’s annual Steak Fry at the Water Hole, beginning at 5pm. “Everyone is welcome to come to the steak fry,” says Shaw. “It’s a family event for all ages. And for those wishing to channel their inner-rock star, Booming Prairie Karaoke and Sound will be set up for your final night of entertainment.
“The fair board has worked really hard this year to provide something everyone in the community can enjoy, and we are so grateful to all our sponsors,” says Shaw. “It really does take a village, and we’re always in need of volunteers, whether it be prepping the fairgrounds at our work-bee on June 10th, sitting at a ticket booth or emptying garbages. Every person is appreciated.”
For Derby or any other fair information, or to volunteer, please check out the Divide County Fair Facebook page. “People can message the page with any questions and we’ll make sure it gets to the right person,” notes Shaw. Rodeo entries should contact Tabitha @ 701-641-0521. All Ranch Rodeo entries must be received by June 15th. Fans and participants can also follow their Facebook page, Divide County Rodeo.