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Fair moves to August

Usually, the annual Pine to Palm Golf Tournament is the last "big" event of the summer for Detroit Lakes -- but this year, the golfers will have to share that honor with the Becker County Fair.

Usually held during the last week in July, this year's fair will instead be held two weeks later, from Aug. 7-10 -- the same week as the Pine to Palm, which begins two days earlier, on Aug. 5, and wraps up one day later, with the championship rounds set for Sunday, Aug. 11.

The reason for the change is simple, according to Fair Board President Bob Sonnenberg.

"We couldn't get our carnival" for the last weekend in July, he said, because the company that they normally use, Amusement Attractions, had a scheduling conflict due to the fact that July only has four weekends in it this year, instead of the normal five.

The reason for scheduling it two weeks later instead of just one was also easily explainable, Sonnenberg added.

"We didn't want to go the first week in August, because we'd have to run up against WE Fest," he said.

The 31st annual music fest -- which is now considered to be one of the biggest events in country music -- is set for Aug. 1-3 this year.

"So we set it for Aug. 7 through 10," Sonnenberg said.

Though the Fair Board could have looked at other companies for providing their carnival rides, food and other attractions, they like the one they have.

"It's the same one we've used the last four or five years -- it's a very good carnival," Sonnenberg said. "We could have gotten a much smaller one (for the original July dates), but we didn't think that would be proper."

Though he thinks there might actually be some advantages to holding the fair later in the summer, Sonnenberg said he expects the event to resume its normal July schedule next year.

"There's both minuses and pluses to having it later," he said.

While scheduling the fair later in the summer means that those exhibitors who are state fair-bound will have less time to prepare, it also means that the livestock, grain and other crops on display will have more time to reach maturity --which means there may actually be more exhibits.

And having the fair take place during the same week as the Pine to Palm may take away some potential fair-goers during the daytime -- but could also bring in bigger crowds during the evenings, after tournament play at the Detroit Country Club has wrapped up for the day.

"The spectators (and golfers) at the Pine to Palm might like to have something fun to do during the evenings, so they'll go to the fair," Sonnenberg said.

Though the carnival has now been booked, the other live entertainment that typically takes place during the four days of the county fair has yet to be determined, Sonnenberg said.

"We will have our demo derbies again, but we haven't done any actual scheduling of entertainment yet," he added. "That will be done in the next month or so."

Some Fair Board members will be making a trip down to the Twin Cities this weekend for a convention where all 87 counties in the state look at what's available for fair entertainment this summer.

"All of the counties get together and talk about what works for them, and what doesn't," Sonnenberg said. "We'll look at a lot of different things, then come back, sit down and take a look at what's available, what we can afford, and what we can't."

Though "it's still in the very early planning stages," however, one thing that Sonnenberg can promise about the 122nd annual Becker County Fair is that there will be plenty of fun to be had for all ages.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454