By Martin J. Kidston
Even as the rain fell, it did little to dampen the spirits of a hearty few who braved the weather at the Great Northern Fair on opening day.
With standing water and muddy fields, the fairgrounds looked more like a ghost town on Wednesday, less the solemn dreamers who sampled the delicacies while watching the forlorn sky with mixed hope and dismay.
As the rain forced the closing of rides, patrons on hand took refuge under the food tent. Out of the weather, the tent provided the only source of entertainment which, as hunger would have it, revolved around food.
Havre Fire Chief Mike Badgely took the rain in stride while eating a hearty scone to the tap of precipitation. With no threat of grass fires, the chief had it easy and enjoyed the last fair before his retirement.
The foods great, Badgely said. Its always great. I look forward to the corn dogs, cheese fries and scones. Heck, I wouldnt be surprised if we didnt come up here for supper.
While the Chief sampled his scone, young Justice Steele ate his hot dog then the bun. At 15 months, the bun was a tough task, but according to his mother, Evaana, Justice has a big appetite which the rain couldnt thwart.
He can eat one and half of those, Evaana said. Hes a big eater. As for the rides, Justice couldnt make the grade, at least not yet, so the rain did little to alter his plans.
Even though the rides were closed, the games were open, and 10 year-old T.J. Schwartzcoph kept a close eye on his prized gold fish, which he won with a little luck. He admitted he didnt like the rain and he wasnt alone in his opinion. A group of girls with little appetite for food and big appetite for rides were left hungry for thrills while the rain fell.
Wed ride the rides if we could, said 13-year-old Kayla Rowin. I guess well just sit here.
Its fun, joked her sidekick Sahri Bell with an air of sarcasm. We would ride the rides, but its raining.
Indeed it was, and by four oclock the gloom had hunkered down across the entire city. But 11-year-old Tara Balsley had high hopes that the weather would relent and give way to good times.
Ill go on the rides when they open, she said, sitting beside her grandparents, who waited with equal patience. Ive already had a cheeseburger and fries, so Ill sit around until then.