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Village Fair Celebrates 30 Years

By Staff | Aug 14, 2015

Prairie Village Museum in Rugby buzzed with activity Sunday during the 30th annual Village Fair. Kids played lacrosse on the village green, singers sang in the bandstand, the blacksmith worked in his shop, and Friends of the Museum served up tasty fair food. Photo Credit: Prairie Village Museum

The grounds of the Prairie Village Museum swelled this past weekend to over 1000 people to partake in music, food and watch kids play lacrosse on the village greens, along with other games and activities at the 30th Annual Village Fair.

According to Cathy Jelsing, the museum’s executive director, “This is the biggest turnout we have had in the last five years.” She continued, “It was great to see all the families who came out this year, to see more kids and more families enjoy the museum this year is very gratifying.”

Jelsing acknowledged that this event wouldn’t be possible without all the assistance she receives from people like Gerald Harmel, the grounds manager, Kenny Blessum and Tanner Lind.

Jelsing said, ” I am so appreciative of all the people that work so hard to make sure that everyone who attends the Village Fair leaves entertained and caring a little more abut the Museum and its place in the community.” She also said, “We couldn’t do it without all the different sponsors like the North Dakota Council of the Arts, Pierce County Endowment Fund, Rugby’s CVB, CTI, Thrivent [Financial] and La Bella Vita Salon. She continued, “I am also very appreciative of all the volunteers, who ranged in age from the young to the elderly. Volunteers that were both Friends of the Museum and non-members who are too numerous to count.” She concluded, “It’s really a community effort. It’s just really rewarding seeing it come together year after year.”

Jelsing recounted one interaction with a fairgoer who said, “We were just coming here for an hour and here it is three hours later and we are still having a good time.” The fair featured a number of annual favorites, from piano playing in the saloon to bread baking in the wood stove at the cook car.

Roger Sitter, bartender and president of the Geographical Center Historical Society, has some fun with saloon singer Joyce Teigen during the Village Fair on Sunday at Prairie Village Museum in Rugby. Photo Credit: Prairie Village Museum

One of this year’s favorite shows was the entertainment provided by the trio, Sisters by Choice, who, along with crooner Don Caldwell, thoroughly entertained the fairgoers with tunes like “Don’t Fence Me In” as part of their USO-style show. Sisters by Choice members are Terri Aldrich, Jan Veikley and Pam Hopkins.

Jelsing is already thinking about next year’s Village Fair and what she can do next to continue the success the fair has experienced. Jelsing shared, “Each year it is important to bring different acts and have fresh ideas. She concluded, “It is important to raise the bar a little more than the previous year without ever losing touch with the proud tradition the fair has had over the last 30 years.”

The love of tradition coupled with an eye towards the future is a winning combination that will definitely prove successful for Jelsing, the Prairie Museum and the Village Fair for years to come.

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