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Celebrating 100 years of fair fun

By Staff | Jun 24, 2016

The Pierce County Fair is celebrating 100 years and will be held June 30-July 4. With crowd favorites, such as the annual mud run, a carnival, a petting zoo, the Demolition Derby, the Ranch Rodeo, a parade and more, the fair is sure to be a success.

Don Jelsing, the fair’s coordinator, said he does so much to keep the fair going every year because of his love for the community and the people in it. “A few years ago, things weren’t going right a few days before the fair, and I think to myself, ‘Why do I put myself through this?'” Jelsing said. “Then I saw two young boys walking into the fairgrounds, smiling and laughing, and a voice from above said, ‘That’s why you do this.’ I do it for the families, for the kids, for the memories.”

This year’s fair will be bigger and better than ever before, with a five-day carnival featuring 10-12 rides, compared to its usual six rides. There will also be a new ‘Full Pull’ truck and tractor pull event on July 4 at 1 pm and a watermelon eating contest on July 3 at 3:30 pm. Musical entertainment will not be lacking in this year’s fair, with a mix of performances from well-known artists Hairball, Tripwire and Blind Joe and local artists, such as Micah Scott.

No fair is complete without food, which will be in abundance throughout the events each day. There will be a Buffalo burger feed sponsored by the students of Rugby High School, free ice cream and 100th anniversary cake, and more. The local cooperatives are sponsoring a steak fry on Saturday, July 2 from 5-7 pm, following the Ranch Rodeo. Food will be made available for the first 250 people and plates are $5 per person.

The fair’s main purpose is to make sure that everyone has a good time. “My favorite part about the fair is the people, especially the kids, and to be able to stop the world and look around at what the Lord has created and see everyone enjoying it,” Jelsing said. “I have been able to surround myself with people in the community that care about the fair.”

Some of those people Jelsing is talking about are the members of the fair board who have helped to make this such a great event, including Don and Khloe Sobolik, Mike Ostrem, Mark Thiel, Brett Berginski and Yolanda Goodman, who is the 4-H extension helping the board.

“Yes, I do a lot for the fair, but I can’t emphasize enough the amount of work everyone else puts in those on the board and our volunteers. It’s a real goal of ours for not only the people who come to enjoy the fair, but also the people who put on the fair, to want to come and take part,” Jelsing said.

The amount of time and hard work that board members, like Jelsing, put in to make the fair fun for all shows in every exhibit. “I have a love for the fair, but I also have a love for the community having something they can get behind. When I die, they can dig up a hole in the fairgrounds and dump me in there,” Jelsing said.

This fair could not be made possible without the help of the board and volunteers, as well as sponsors and the county commissioners. Anyone who wants to volunteer during the fair can call Khloe Sobolik at 208-0830, and those who want to participate in the open class exhibitions can either sign up on the fair’s website at piercecountyfairrugby.com or call Don Jelsing at 208-2886.

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