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Village Fair draws a crowd

Twenty-fifth annual event held on Aug. 8

August 13, 2010
Edie Wurgler

The heat and humidity may have kept some people away from the Village Fair at the Geographical Center Museum in Rugby on this past Sunday, but it didn't wilt the enthusiasm of those who did show up.

Curator Pam Schmitt said about 750 came out for what was billed as the 25th Anniversary of the fair. Twenty-eight towns in North Dakota were represented, as well as 14 states. Residents of four foreign countries, Canada, Russia, Sweden and England attended.

The day started with a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. until noon. Other food vendors served burgers, hot dogs, sweet treats and pizza. The Eagles Auxiliary held their annual pie social. Even with little shade for diners to escape from the heat, food stands did a brisk business.

Entertainment ranged from a car show to a hymn sing. Iberdrola, owners of the wind farm north of Rugby, sponsored the main stage entertainment, the Lund Family from Bottineau, who performed two shows.

"The classic car show was new this year," said board member Mitzi Mettler. "We're hoping they'll be back next year."

Another new entertainer was Ryan Taylor of Towner who performed rope tricks interspersed with original cowboy poetry and a humorous running commentary about various aspects of life. He brought several children into the act, teaching them rope tricks and giving them small ropes to take home. "Those were some excited kids," said Mettler.

Other entertainment included ragtime piano, gospel music in the church, a barbershop quartet, a quilt show, 50's music and contests, old-time waltzes and polkas on the accordion, honky-tonk piano in the saloon, a photography display and more. Of course, the museum's historical artifacts and antiques also attracted the crowd.

Some ongoing events were face painting, balloon animals, wine tasting, old-time laundry, and cooking in the cook car. "God bless them for cooking in that heat," Mitzi said of volunteers Bill and Nancy Nix who took the morning shift, and Diane Dufner who baked all afternoon. "She finished her last buns at 6:30."

In the annual raffle, Shyane Myers of Rugby won the gas grill donated by the Dave Bednarz family and Judy Sloboden of Ruso won the quilt pieced and given by the Quilting from the Heart quilt guild. A wine basket was won by Kristen Bohl of Knox.

The museum staff and board are already planning for next year's Village Fair. An opinion survey was conducted on Sunday with resulting suggestions such as "not enough shade", and tongue-in-cheek "plan for a cooler day".

"We can't control the weather," said board member Vicky Harmel, with a laugh. "But we heard a lot of positive comments about the day."



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