By Ron VandenBoom
Its no small task setting up the business booths at the Great Northern Fair every year, but the effort more than pays off for those who put in the time.
This year more than 50 will occupy spaces in the Trades and Industry Buildings at the fair and even more will show their wares on the lawn to the north of the buildings.
It will take Shawn and Christy Holden and their helper, Courtney Welch, about eight hours to fill their two Holden Hot Wheels spaces at the fair.
Im proud of my work and the image of my store, Shawn Holden said. And I want to give back to the community that gives so much to us.
This will be the fourth year Holden has moved a portion of his business to the fairgrounds and it also gives him the chance to show off what it is he does at his business and the latest in custom and hi-tech devices for cars.
This years specialty is what Holden describes as the worlds first interactive voice activated CD navigation cell phone address book.
Its more than just a CD, he said. Its a business tool.
The unit sells for about $3,000, Holden said, but is compatible with Microsoft and can even connect with the Internet for sending and receiving e-mail.
Holden Hot Wheels will be giving away two entry level CD players and, as in past years, T-shirts and caps while they last.
A first-time business at the fair this year will be the Country Peddlers Company of America and Havre distributor for the company, Jackie Donoven.
We do home shows, Donoven said, as she worked putting her assortment of merchandise on shelves. Were better known as peddlers and we do gatherings.
Donoven said she will not know until its all over whether it was worth all of the time and effort, but experiences had by other peddlers at other fairs have given her high hope for success.
Visitors to her booth will be able to sign up for a drawing for a Settlers Colonial Afghan valued at $50, she said, and also arrange for home demonstrations. Guests will also be able to order merchandise or sign up to also be peddlers.
Im really pretty excited about the whole thing, she said.
Another new booth at the fair will be an organization rather than a business.
Kitty Keepers Sue Markley and Penney Bergren will be on hand to make visitors more aware of the situation with cats in the Havre area and to try and recruit some volunteers to help with the relatively new organization.
A 50/50 drawing will be held for a gift certificate worth $30 that can be applied toward the spaying or neutering of a pet.
Kittens that are up for adoption also will be in attendance at the booth. A formal adoption process will be followed and prospective owners will have to fill out an application that will be reviewed by the Kitty Keepers Committee.
Markley noted that each kitten will come with a price tag of $40 to cover spaying or neutering of the animal, deworming, and up-to-date shots.
Northern Montana Health Care is one of the oldest businesses with a booth at the fair with more than 10 years perfect attendance under its belt.
We will be doing free blood pressure screenings from 2:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and on Sunday from 2:30 to 5 p.m., said Kathie Newell, public relations manager for Northern Montana Health Care, as she busied herself setting up the display Tuesday. The main focus of our display is bike safety and helmet use.
There also will be a focus on pedestrian safety and vehicle safety, Newell said.
Just kind of family safety sort of things, she said.
The NMHC booth will have daily drawings every day of the fair for two bike helmets, two first aid kits, and a wellness book on health, wellness, and fitness. Kids also can enjoy some of the paper games on bike safety that Newell said will be on the tables.
Information on the New West Health Plan also will be available from a representative from Helena on Friday and Saturday.