Fair board discusses 2021 fair schedule


Last updated 5/21/2021 at 7:23am

The Great Northern Fair Board detailed the 2021 Great Northern Fair’s schedule at their monthly meeting Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 14, will host the Junior Rodeo with the Midway West Amusements Carnival opening at 4 p.m. and running until midnight.

Thursday, July 15, will host the Montana State University Open Rodeo along with free entertainment including Patrick the One-Man Circus. Specific times for both of these events have yet to be nailed down, but the carnival will have the same hours as Wednesday, July 14.

Friday, July 16, will host the Northern Rodeo Association Rodeo at a yet-to-be-announced time, as well, and Patrick the One-Man Circus at 4 and 7 p.m., along with other free entreatment including the Paz Baseball Show at 1:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., and The Silver Starlets Acrobatic Show at 2, 5, and 8 p.m., with live music by Shake Down Country beginning at 9 p.m.

The carnival opens at 2 p.m. that Friday and runs until midnight.

Fairgrounds Manager Frank English said the times for the Paz Baseball show will likely change slightly to better complement the Silver Starlet Acrobatic Show.

Saturday, July 17, will host the Jaycees’ Demolition Derby at 6 p.m. with the Paz Baseball Show and Silver Starlets Acrobatic shows running as the same time they ran Friday, July 16. Live music and a street dance with Zamtrip will begin at 9 p.m. and the carnival will open at noon and run until midnight.

Sunday, July 18, will feature a two-hour performance and street dance with The Robert Henry Band and Jessica Lynn Witty at a yet-to-be-announced time, and the carnival will be open from 1 to 8 p.m.

Parking for the fair will cost $5 per day or $20 for the whole week.

Hill County 4-H also provided details about their own fair events including their Weigh-In Day Thursday morning and their Horse Show in the outside arena from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Beef Show will be Friday morning and the Dog Show will be Friday afternoon, with the Pig Show scheduled for Saturday morning.

The Sheep and Goat Show along with the Round Robin will be held Saturday afternoon, and the Small Animal Show will be running Sunday morning with the Livestock Sale scheduled for that afternoon.

All 4-H events scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will take place in the Bigger Better Barn, which has recently received some updates.

English said Northern Winz Hotel and Casino is hoping to put on a bull ride at some point during the fair, but he has yet to hear back from them.

Board members said Northern Winz would need to get back to the board in around a week if they are going to get approved in time for the fair.

English also said final tweaks are being made to the Great Northern Fair’s new website and it should be ready soon.

He said he also met with Clausen & Sons recently about sidewalk repairs that are now complete.

The board also discussed improvements to the 4-H sidewalk, which will be completed before the 2021 fair with Frontier Landscaping scheduled to pour concrete in mid-June.

Board Chair Josh Heitzenroder said significant progress on repairs to the fairground’s office building have also been made since the last meeting.

The board unanimously approved his proposal to finish milling work being done in the western parking lot, which he said has significantly improved the area.

Board Member Bob Sivertsen said the board needs to take a serious look at creating a long-term building program for the fairgrounds after the 2021 fair is done.

He said the board needs to shift its focus to a long-term improvement plan instead of addressing issues as they come up, otherwise the area will never reach its full potential.

“How do we want this fairgrounds to look in 25 years?” he asked. “... This is a gold mine we’re sitting on right here, and it might be an activity center for northern Montana.”

Heitzenroder said there have been long-term projects, but the board’s members change and circumstances shift which makes it hard to implement things like that.

Sivertsen suggested coming up with a plan and taking the ideas to the community to get their input.

He said the community, as long as they are shown that the plans are serious, will support them.

“It’s a lengthy process, but it’s the only good process,” he said.

The board also unanimously approved a proposal to advertise for a secretary position for the fair grounds as well as temporary day-laborer positions, both of which may free up English to do other work at the grounds.

There was, however, some confusion over how much the board is permitted to pay the day-laborers with English expressing concern that they wouldn’t be able to pay them much more than minimum-wage after missing the deadline to change how they could be paid in the budget.

The board also discussed a request made by Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line Club Director Tim Brurud that an exception be made regarding their contract for a booth during the fair.

Brurud said the club is facing staffing issues at the moment and it’s unlikely that they will be able to keep the booth open for the amount of time normally required by the fair and he was hoping the board would make an exception given the circumstances.

Heitzenroder said the primary purpose of the requirement is to make sure booths aren’t setting up in the middle of fair hours and bringing vehicles into the grounds during that time, and Brurud said their booth doesn’t require anything like that.

Hietzenroder and Board Vice-Chair Michelle Burchard said they didn’t see a reason not to make the exception, especially in light of other booths expressing no objection when asked about the prospect.

However, Sivertsen expressed concerns about the matter, saying he hates to see a booth closed for so long during fair hours because it hurts their opportunity to raise funds for their organization.

Brurud said he anticipates the staffing issues at the club to be alleviated next year as the pandemic hopefully ends and this is a one-time request.

Sivertsen abstained from the vote to allow the exception, but all other members voted in favor of it.

The board also discussed the possibility of allowing the Havre Jaycees to move their fireworks booth into the parking lot of the fairgrounds since their normal space near the Hill County Detention Center is now occupied.

Heitzenroder said that may complicate things for the Jaycees because the fairgrounds are inside city limits and the city has more restrictive laws when it comes to when pyrotechnics can be sold.

Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean said there might be an exception because the land belongs to the county and she would look into the matter.

The next regular meeting of the Great Northern Fair Board will be Wednesday, June 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Northern Fairgrounds Community Center.


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