Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson, file photo
Mia Valdez of Havre looks at the giant sugarbeets that were entered into the Sugarbeet Growing contest before the Sugarbeet Festival Parade down Indiana Avenue in Chinook in September 2010.
As the year nears the end of September and the inevitably chilly weather to follow, Chinook is offering one last opportunity to get out and enjoy the end of summer.
The 7th Annual Sugarbeet Festival kicks off this weekend, with a few events starting on Friday afternoon then continuing all day Saturday.
“It’s going to be a fun time. Our weather is supposed to be awesome, ” said Heather DePriest, from the Chinook Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to be a huge weekend in town. ”
On Friday, the festival begins with vendors setting up downtown at 1 p. m. to peddle wares until 6 p. m.
Also in the afternoon, the Chinook High School homecoming parade will make its way through downtown, getting everybody pumped for the homecoming game that night, against Great Falls Central at 7 p. m. at Hoon Field.
Saturday’s festivities kick off at 8 a. m. with the Dan’s Auto Parts Pancake Breakfast at the Senior Citizens Center.
The downtown vendors will be set up from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. A farmers' market, from 9 a. m. to noon, will also be offering some deals.
The Fun Run, which can be registered for by calling Thomas MacLean at 357-3198, starts its 3-mile event at 10 a. m. and the 1-mile event at 11 a. m.
Also at 11 a. m., Chinook’s museums will open, and the annual car show and the judging of the Sugarbeet Growing contest will begin.
Most of the afternoon will be filled with games, from golf contests on a simulator to inflatable entertainment in a bouncy castle or boxing ring.
A special “Gusher” game ties into this year’s featured industry, oil and gas, with players trying their luck at striking black gold.
Speaking of Texas tea, the Sugarbeet parade down Indiana Street at 4 p. m. will be followed at 5 p. m. by a Beverly Hillbilly’s Look-Alike contest.
The Chamber’s barbecue will begin downtown at 5:30 p. m.
Then they welcome award-winning Las Vegas singer/comedian/impressionist Larry G. Jones for a demonstration of those skills in the Chinook High School gymnasium at 7 p. m.
The night, and festival, will then be capped with a drive-in movie, where attendees can watch “Hellfire, ” a 1968 John Wayne movie where he works extinguishing oil well fires under dire circumstances.
Chinook Sugarbeet Festival schedule
Friday, Sept. 23rd
1 to 6 p. m. — Vendors on Main Street in Chinook;
1:30 p. m. — Homecoming Parade on Main Street in Chinook;
7 p. m. — Chinook High School homecoming football game at Hoon Field.
Saturday, Sept. 24th
8 to 10 a. m. — Dan's Auto Parts pancake breakfast at the Senior Citizens Center;
9 a. m. to 5 p. m. — Vendors on Main Street in Chinook;
9 a. m. to noon — Farmer's Market at Bikini Coffee;
9 to 11 a. m. — Sugarbeet entries begin;
10 a. m. — Fun Run: 3-mile run;
11 a. m. — Fun Run: 1-mile run;
11 a. m. to 5 p. m. — Wildlife Museum open, and Blaine County Museum open;
11 a. m. to 2:30 p. m. — Car Show;
11 a. m. — Sugarbeet Growing Contest judging;
Noon to 4 p. m. — Golfing contests, Main Street in Chinook;
Noon to 5 p. m. — Inflatable toys;
1 to 3 p. m. — Gusher Game, tent next to the Wildlife Museum;
1 to 4 p. m. — Live music by local musicians, Main Street in Chinook;
3:15 p. m. — Line up for parade, in front of Meadowlark School;
4 p. m. — Parade, Main Street in Chinook;
5 p. m. — Beverly Hillbillies Look-Alike Contest;
5:30 p. m. — Chamber Barbeque, Main Street in Chinook;
7 p. m. — Larry G. Jones, impressionist/comedian, Chinook High School gym.
As if a late September weekend with a forecast in the 70s and 80s weren’t enough excuse to get out of the house and enjoy it, Chinook throws an event like this.