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Sugarbeet Festival returns to full strength Saturday


Last updated 9/30/2021 at 11:24am

After a condensed event last year due to COVID-19, the Chinook Sugarbeet Festival is back to full strength this year, with a slew of events returning to the area Saturday.

Chinook Chamber of Commerce President Daniel Dahl, one of the festival’s primary organizers, said a lot of regular events have been updated, but this year’s festival over all will be much closer to a normal year.

Dahl said the turnout for last year’s condensed festival was impressive despite its smaller scope, but he’s happy to see the event back in action, packed with events.

“If you come, you’re going to be busy all day,” he said.

Among the events scheduled to take place Saturday is the Cowboy Triathlon Fun Run, registration for which will begin at 8 a.m.

At 9 a.m. the run, which features obstacles like a stick horse slalom, a cowpie toss and a tire flip, will begin with prizes for first, second and third place presented by First Bank of Montana, and prize for dead last presented by Wilderness Funeral Home.

9 a.m. will also mark the opening of Blaine County Cruisers Car Show at the Blaine County Fairgrounds, as well as the Rod and Gun Show at the fairground’s commercial building, the former ending at 1 p.m. and the latter ending at 6 p.m.

Dahl said the event will also have a number of vendors coming to town, including food vendors, all of whom will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

He said the event’s traditional Sugarbeet Decorating Contest will see judging begin at 11 a.m., which will also be when two hours of live music begins.

The event Dahl said he’s looking forward to the most, however, is a talk by Nez Perce elder LeRoy Seth and Montana Artist Terry Ball at 2 p.m. sponsored by the Blaine County Museum and held in the Blaine County Library Conference Room.

Seth will be talking about the history and significance of the Nez Perce Flight of 1877, which ended in what is now Blaine County at the Bear Paw Battlefield where Chief Joseph surrendered to the U.S. Army, marking the end of the Indian Wars with his famous words, “I will fight no more forever.”

Ball will be talking about and raffling off a Pendleton Blanket he designed commemorating the flight, on which he collaborated with Seth.

Dahl said this event was set up by Blaine County Museum Director Samantha French, who he praised for her recent work attempting to incorporate different perspectives into the museum’s preservation of the area’s history.

“She’s showing other sides of what our county has been through,” he said.

As for the festival’s more traditional events, Dahl said the parade will be at 3 p.m. this year and will be followed by a punch card drawing.

He said the parade is traditionally held later but they didn’t want it to overlap too much with the Brewfest at Sweet Park which will begin at 4 p.m.

The Brewfest is nothing new to the area, he said, but this is the first time it has been held in collaboration with the festival and he’s hoping a lot of people have fun attending.

He said local bars will be having their own private music concerts that evening, as well, which is why the festival is having its own live music earlier in the day so they don’t conflict with them.

Dahl said free bounce houses and mini golf will also be at the festival all day.

He said because all but one of these events is being held outside, the Chamber is not recommending any special COVID-19 precautions, but anyone who wants to wear a mask is welcome to.

“We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable,” he said.

Dahl said the gun show is being held indoors but no one there would object to people taking precautions either.

With the delta-driven COVID-19 surge in the state, which includes recent deaths in this area, officials are urging people to take steps to slow the spread of the virus that causes the disease.

People who feel ill and unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus should stay at home and vaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus should be tested within three to five days of exposure, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

People are urged to wear masks and socially distance when out in public.

And everyone who has not is urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


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