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Omdahl: The State Fair Is Here

By Staff | Jul 17, 2015

The North Dakota State Fair, mother of all fairs, is running this week in Minot and thousands of horses, rabbits, sheep, cows and people have been congregating in this statewide event celebrating its 50th anniversary of official fairhood.

In 1965, Governor Bill Guy, flanked by all of the incumbent Ward county legislators and dignitaries, signed the legislation to vest the Minot event with the sanctity of state law.

The fair features everything from animals to food to stage shows to vendors to races to machinery a rodeo, kid fun and just about everything you could imagine plus a lot of other stuff you couldn’t.

Of particular interest to me is Daryl’s Racing Pigs. A greater novelty would be a cat race. My daughter has four felines that she could enter, except the fair has a monster sandbox (open all day) and once her cats saw that they would spurn a mere litter box.

One of her Persians Henry VIII is obese and won’t be fit to race until Michelle Obama furnishes dietary guidelines.

Included in the stage shows are such folks as Seether and Pickler. Whatever happened to the Kingston Trio and Englebert Humperdinck? (Of course, that is not Engbert’s real name. He was born Arnold Dorsey but wanted a catchy stage name. ) Well, one ticket covers all shows anyway so pick your favorites.

From the promotion material I learned that Corriedale is a variety of sheep. I always thought it was that town nine miles north of McGillicuddy. At least that’s what a guy in the Shady Eye Saloon thought.

There are no chickens at the Fair this year. They called in sick.

Slated in the livestock section is a Chiangus show. Sounds like a troupe of acrobatic Chinese goats but it’s really a new variety of bovine quadrupeds.

Well, the Murphy boys have a new ride at the Fair called the Flipper. With four riders in each of 12 cars spinning through the air, that gives us 48 people to mess up the grounds. If you plan to ride, bring your own urp bag. If you plan only to look, it would be wise to stand back beyond the strongest stomach.

Not only does Minot host the state’s biggest fair but following close on its heels is the Hostfest scheduled for September 29-October 3.

Folks of Scandinavian descent should come early because the Irish will be flooding the event to hear Celtic Thunder, a singing group straight from Dublin. Scandinavians must stand their ground for lutefisk and rommegrot, even though the Irish will try to flood the Fair with stew and green beer.

Like the State Fair, the Hostfest attracts tourists from all over the United States and other countries. Even the folks back in Norway come to see what Norway was really like.

In true Scandinavian tradition, the Irish will be welcome because the Hostfest knows no ethnic bounds. This is evidenced by the honoring of a wide range of Scandinavians, such as Charlie Pride.

I had the privilege of introducing Victor Borge when he was inaugurated into the Hostfest Hall of Fame. (My mother was a Dane.) Borge was of Jewish descent and I was wondering how long you had to live in the country to become a different nationality.

The Hostfest is a comfort for all of those lonesome Scandinavians scattered around the Midwest. A piece of the Old Country. It seems that our large German population could use such an event. Bismarck, this is your market. Honor your name.

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