BEMIDJI — Fair season is just around the corner with the traditional summer staples of carnival rides, fried food and a whole lot of animals.
Set for Aug. 10-14, the Beltrami County Fair will have something for everyone including an aroma of fair food, full barns and a few new twists.
According to fair board member Beryl Wernberg, a new rodeo is coming after the fate of the fan-favorite event was up in the air following the recent retirement of Joe Waslaski and Kris Klasen, long-time promoters of the Triple B Rodeo at the Beltrami County Fair.
Hoping to add a local touch, Wojo’s Rodeo based out of Greenbush will be featured at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
“I look forward to seeing all the people come and bring their kids and have a good time, that's what makes the fair special for all of us on the board,” said Wernberg. “We really enjoy having a family-friendly event and seeing the youth especially enjoying themselves.”
The grandstand shows will also feature free musical entertainment from Poppa Bear Norton from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, along with a Motocross show at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Baja Races at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“Something new to look at is we have the Baja event on Sunday,” said Wernberg. “I think that will be really fun for people to watch.”
Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College will kick off the events on Wednesday and will be open from noon until 6 p.m. in Heritage Square for educational fun.
“They will be doing all kinds of things,” said Wernberg, “like pedaling a bike to make smoothies, germ identification, food demonstrations and sharing short stretching exercises for people who get stuck sitting at their desks all day.”
The rest of the week will feature a slew of demonstrations such as Tae Kwon Do, Headwaters Science Center appearances, a balloon artist, a woodcarvers club, horticulture exhibits and a mural artist.
“One of the really unique things we have this year is a mural artist from Minnesota who’s going to paint an 8-by-6-foot mural featuring the three native trees of Beltrami County,” said Wernberg. “He will start painting on Wednesday and complete it on Sunday and people can stop by building 14 to watch.”
Wernberg also added there will be a number of activities to keep the youth involved from Safe Kids Worldwide programs to the return of Maggie the Cow, a life-size fiberglass cow that fairgoers can try their hand at milking.
“The Safe Kids program is going to do a car demo and we have North Country First Responders doing a course on CPR and first-aid training,” Weinberg said. “The Kiddie Barn will be the usual assortment of baby animals for them to see as well.”
Beltrami County 4-H will return with its many traditional events and activities, including a pet show, horse show games, a llama and alpaca show and a dog agility show.
Local authors are also making an appearance on Saturday and Sunday to show fairgoers what they’ve been writing.
“(There will be) all kinds of cool stuff to see,” Wernberg added.
Due to the current road construction along U.S. Highway 71 at the Anne Street intersection, Wernberg and the Minnesota Department of Transportation suggests that fairgoers heading northbound on Highway 71 utilize Lakewood Drive to the east to Irvine Avenue and Fairgrounds Road. Southbound traffic can use the southbound Irvine Avenue ramps to Irvine Avenue and Fairgrounds Road.
“It will be a little bit of a challenge due to the (road) construction,” Wernberg said. “But MnDOT has done a good job and the signage will be well done.”
Access is also available from Highway 71 by turning west onto Lakewood Drive W, then taking an immediate right turn onto Fairgrounds Road NW.
“We have been working closely with the Beltrami County Fair Board to help ensure the safety of motorists traveling to and from the fair,” said TJ Melcher, MnDOT Public Engagement. “Removing the left-turn options at the Lakewood Drive intersection avoids the potential of T-bone or rear-end crashes. It will also help traffic travel more efficiently through the construction zone. MnDOT prioritizes safety in all of our construction projects.”
Wernberg added that entering through the north gate is the best option for trucks pulling trailers or horse arena or grandstand participants.
“We just ask people to be really patient and plan on it taking twice as long to get there,” Wernberg added. “We are really fortunate to have a lot of people come to our fair and we want everyone to get there safely and in time for the events.”
For more information and a detailed schedule, visit beltramicountyfair.org.
What: Beltrami County Fair
When: Wednesday, Aug. 10, through Sunday, Aug. 14
Where: Beltrami County Fairgrounds, 7223 Fairgrounds Road NW
Cost: $5 gate fee per day to park on the fairgrounds or a $10 season pass