Friday’s Weekend Column
The County Fair

by James Glaser
August 12, 2005

Northome has been the home of the Koochiching County Fair since they started having fairs up here in the early 1900s. Our fair is not like what you might imagine. We have no Midway, so there are no rides, freak shows, or even any games of chance.

We do have food booths run by The American legion, the 4H, and a commercial "roach coach" or two. On Saturday afternoon the "Friends of the Library" will be having an outdoor chicken dinner to raise funds for the new library.

Our Legion Booth serves breakfast and I will have to be out there very early to help open up and get the coffee on. We serve until noon and you get eggs to order, pancakes, sausage, and toast, plus coffee or orange juice for like three bucks. I wanted them to raise the price this year, but I was voted down.

We spruced up the booth this year, it is now Red, White, and Blue. We also put in a new floor, hot water heater, and changed out the old stove for electric griddles.

We don't make much money, but we all have a great time and people come every year just to hear the stories about life up here before the war. That would be before WW II.

We don't have a midway, but we do have lots to do. There is one heck of a community talent contest and when ever a child enters, you know his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins are all going to be there. We have lots of talented children, so there is always a big crowd for that.

There is a sawdust pile salted with silver dollars that the kids get to dig in. And there is a train pulled by a riding lawnmower for the little kids to get a tour of the fair grounds.

We have the Sink Hole Scramble, which is a 6k foot race with every age category. Two years ago I was out at the fair grounds just before the race started. I was watching this guy make cotton candy on a stick and the first one he made was way too big for the plastic bag he was putting them in, so he handed it to me just as the gun shot to start the race. There I was standing there with this huge hunk of sugar on a stick, as everyone streamed by me. All I could tell those who were taunting me, was that I would be catching up to them when the sugar rush hit.

Saturday night we have a fireworks show that will knock your socks off. Not only are you almost on top of them, when they light them off, they go on and on and on. They tell me we have such a great show, because we are not having it near the 4th of July when everyone else is having theirs, and I guess fireworks don't winter over that well, and the guy who puts on the show, shoots off everything he has, so he doesn't have to store it over the winter. People come from the Twin cities, 250 miles away, just to watch this show. There are containers all over town all year long, so you can donate for the fireworks show.

On Sunday afternoon we have a large demolition derby, with many local cars and some from all the way over in the Dakotas. We always have a huge crowd and the beer garden, run by the Volunteer Fire Department does well that day. In truth, they do well all weekend. Saturday night there is a dance at the Fire Hall. They park the trucks on the street and bring in tables and chairs and move the Beer Garden to the hall for the night. People of all ages are dancing in the Fire hall, on the concrete driveway, and out on the street.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the Bear Festival Parade that we have Saturday afternoon. I will be marching with the Color Guard from the American Legion and the VFW. We start the parade down at the nursing home, so all of the residence can watch from the parking lot. There are lots of local floats and everyone throws candy out to the kids.

It will be a crowded fun filled weekend in Northome and I will have my auction bills up all over town. It is a good thing that I am almost ready, because I have been volunteered to do lots of jobs the next few days. It will be a lot of fun, a real community event, and one that couldn't happen if it wasn't for all the work that so many people contribute every year.

This year, the Lutheran Church loaned out their Fair Booth to the Catholic Church, so the Catholics could have "indoor" Bingo. Talk about interdeminational cooperation.

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