Great times at the fair
It was a bright and sunny start to the Becker County Fair on Wednesday and Thursday, prompting fair manager Bob Sonnenberg to say with a smile, “It’s just what we ordered, you know.”
And the picture-perfect weather drew big crowds to the fairgrounds —even on Wednesday’s Entry Day, which is traditionally a much quieter day.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the (4-H and FFA) projects, and the open class entries,” said Sonnenberg, who also chairs the Becker County Fair Board.
He attributed that, in part, to the fact that there were a larger number of entries in nearly every division this year.
“We have over 500 animals on the grounds this year — that’s one of the largest groups we’ve had,” he said.
Fair Board member Amy Jorgenson, who was the director in charge of the open class entries this year, said that entries were up in nearly every category this year, from flowers to vegetables to photography and everything in between.
“Entries are up in almost all of the divisions — flowers especially,” she said, adding that they actually ran out of vases at one point, and had to go scrounging for more.
The increase may be due, at least in part, to the fact that the entries themselves are now better showcased than ever before, thanks to a $7,800 County Fair Arts Access & Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The Becker County Fair has received grants through this fund for the past couple of years, which has enabled volunteers to give the exhibit building a paint job and purchase movable display cases, which allows the entries to be more prominently and securely displayed, Jorgenson noted.
“We are truly very thankful that we have the funds to make these improvements,” she added, noting that because the fair is a not-for-profit enterprise, they often have to postpone needed repairs and improvements when the money simply isn’t available.
As for the livestock, University of Minnesota Extension office manager Linda Perrine said that early numbers indicated entries were up significantly in the beef, dairy, poultry and rabbit divisions — particularly rabbits, which saw a veritable explosion of entries, with up to nearly 200 bunnies in the exhibit building this year.
“The horse barn is full too,” she said, noting that all of the barn’s 45 stalls were in use.
Though Kari Sayer is the 4-H coordinator for Becker County, Perrine said that she has continued to provide support for the program since 1977, as well as being the coordinator for the county’s Master Gardener program.
“This is my 37th fair,” she said. “I absolutely love it.”
Even the entries for the Miss and Junior Miss Becker County Fair Pageant on Thursday were up, with 16 competitors in the two divisions.
The Junior Miss title went to Catherine Jaroszewski, with Sarah Wendt as first runner-up and Maddie Grossman as second runner-up.
Sarah Labine was chosen as Miss Becker County Fair 2013, with runner-up honors going to Anne Holzgrove (first) and Elizabeth Steger (second).
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.