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Lions propose funding fair project, fair schedule updated


February 19, 2020

An update on 2020 Great Northern Fair events was among the items discussed at the fair board’s monthly meeting Tuesday, along with a proposal by a local service club to help fund some major project at the fairgrounds, although the board did not vote on any items due to several members being absent.

The board members excused from the meeting were Shawn Bickford, Bobbie Dolphay and Ray Kallenberger.

Board Chair Tyler Smith and Vice Chair Chelby Gooch and board members Jack Solomon and Ron Konesky attended the meeting.

Votes on agenda items were tabled until next month’s meeting.

During the public comment section, Havre Lions Club President Jim Bennett presented the board with a proposal to partner with the board in writing a grant to put toward something on the fairgrounds.

He said the club has been in contact with its state leaders about other communities in Montana who have been applying to the Lions Club International Foundation for a grant. The foundation has a matching-grant program that donates to various projects around the world for the betterment of those communities. 

Recently, the foundation donated $90,000 to Laurel to build a pond in one of their parks, he said, adding that $40,000 was also donated for a different project.

“We were thinking if there was a project on the fairgrounds that we could apply for somewhere in that $40,000 to $90,000 range,” Bennett said. “Maybe we could use funds from Lions International, we could use some labor from the Lions Club, maybe some county money to chip in, so that we could match.”

Some of the club members said that money might go toward fixing up the restrooms or with something on the grandstand, he said.

“We want to help. Our biggest club fundraiser is selling Pronto Pups, and it’s something fun for us to do, but then we take that money and try to put it back into the community,”  he said. “If we can get more people into the fair it’s good for us, it’s good for the fair, but it’s good for the community too, because then they are buying more corn dogs and cheese fries.”

Bennett said he will bring up some options at his club meeting Thursday to see what the club members think.

The Lions Club and the Great Northern Fair Board will be in communication in the coming weeks about all the logistics.

The board also talked about a new schedule of events taking place for fair week.

Gooch said that, as of Tuesday, the events are:

• Wednesday, July 15, the carnival opens from 4 p.m. to midnight; the arena event is the Junior Rodeo;

• Thursday, July 16, carnival will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight; circus show 4 and 7 p.m.; and Open Rodeo begins at 7 p.m.;

• Friday, July 17, carnival opens at 2 p.m. and runs to midnight; barnyard races at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.; Silver Starlights at 2, 5 and 8 p.m.; circus show at 4 and 7 p.m.; Cody Four Colors Bull Riding at 7 p.m.; and live music and street dance at 9 p.m.;

• Saturday, July 18, carnival runs from noon to midnight, barnyard entertainment at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.; Paz baseball show starts 1:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Demo Derby at 6 p.m.; and concert and street dance at 9 p.m.;

• Sunday, July 18, times are to be announced; carnival opens at 1 to 8 p.m. and a live music concert is scheduled.

The board further discussed a motion Kallenberger made at its January meeting to finish insulating the Bigger Better Barn.

Smith also proposed adding to the agenda for next month’s meeting a discussion on panels versus putting barbed wire up near the Bigger Better Barn.

Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean said the board needs to make a bid package of what it is they are exactly looking for, then contractors would come to the county commission office to present those bids.

Smith said more information will be discussed at next month’s meeting.

Smith gave the board an update on the roof collapsing about 18 inches on the building housing the Great Northern Fair office during September 2019.

He said he spoke Tuesday with Jeremy Siemens, who works at an engineering firm, and Siemens said the board proposal of adding a center brace in the building would be fine.

“I told him I want him to run the calculations and provide us with a stamp drawing of what to do there. He didn’t see it as a problem,” Smith said, “so I would say that we are on the path of — rather than tearing the office building down — to actually repairing it.”

Hill County Treasurer Sandy Brown said she spoke with someone two weeks ago about receiving the insurance payment on the roof and has yet to receive anything.

“That check should be sitting somewhere and we should have it,” she said.

Smith said the board should have had the check over a month ago.

Konesky said installing a sidewalk in front of the 4-H Chuckwagon is a work in progress and he hopes to have more information at next month’s meeting

Moving the RV sewage drain on the fairground’s campground will take place in the spring if the weather allows, Smith said, adding that the office, fencing, insulation and graveled areas are all currently the highest priorities.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, in the Timmons Room of the Hill County Courthouse.


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