BURKE COUNTY FAIR
BY TERESA ROERING
A new grandstand was built in 1926 by Victor Rohm at a price of $2000, he was the only bidder. The new grandstand was 80 feet long, and eight seats high.
Electric lights were added to fairgrounds in 1929.
In 1930, money was borrowed from the First State Bank in Flaxton as there were very few taxes paid to the county that year and there was no aid available.
A special meeting was held in June of 1931 to determine if a fair should be held or not because of the rough economic times. It was voted to have the fair but there would be no horse races, and gate admission was reduced to 35 cents and the grandstand dropped to 25 cents. All premiums that year were reduced by 25%.
This was probably the only year in history that the board considered a shut down and it was believed nearly all other fairs in North Dakota closed during the dry years.
In 1934, the gate admission was cut again to $.25, and there were no premiums paid on livestock because they felt there were no cattle in the county in shape for judging.
In 1937, a sound system was purchased for the fair in the amount of $100.
Over the years, a small house was moved to the fairgrounds for a secretary’s office and in 1970, a Richland Township school house was moved to the fairgrounds to be used for school exhibits.
The wooden grandstand that was built in 1926 was completely destroyed on July 30, 1980 when a tornado struck the fairgrounds. People from the area worked long hours to clean up, and a new steel grandstand was built in time for the fair the next year. In addition wooden display booths and an announcer’s stand were also completed.
In 1986, the Burke County 4-H Council, with some volunteer labor and donations from throughout Burke County, drilled a water well and built cement block bathrooms.
Burke County resident, Eddy Peterson can’t remember missing a single fair in his entire lifetime, “I never missed a single fair, and we would always go in the evenings. I suppose because my dad had to work and could only take me then.”
Peterson remembers all of the 4-H kids who brought blankets and sleeping pads who stayed in the old barns with all of their livestock. Although he was not in 4-H, he thought that was very neat.
“I remember the rows of tents along the midway, which was big. There was a big beautiful merry-go-round and a big Ferris wheel,” recalled Peterson. “I always remembered the wrestlers who used to come too. I would walk by them afraid and just hold onto my dad’s arm hoping that he wouldn’t go fight them. They would call all the local guys chickens and try to get them to fight with them.”
Another Burke County resident who has done a lot of work for the fair was Ivan Pedersen. Ivan recalled a special memory of winning grand champion with his calf.
“I didn’t have the best calf by any means, but I fed that calf eggs and milk and got it ready for the fair and ended up winning Grand Champion.”
Pedersen also recalled the time he spent helping with the 4-H calves for judging. He used to pick them all up for the fair, and return them to their farms when the fair was over.
The Burke County Fair has come a long way since the early 1900’s. With midways, to 4-H exhibits, open class exhibits, vendors and booths alike, there will always be something we can each remember about the fair.
With this year’s fair making a historic come back–packed full of events, you will not want to miss, it is sure to be one for the history books.
JUST DEW IT
If aging has become a bothersome burden, relentlessly weighing on your bent back, arthritic joints, and ever weakening bladder, fear not my feeble friends June 24 is fast approaching.
If you fancy yourself a follower of Icelandic folklore, or have been pondering giving it a go, June is the perfect time to test the waters…or at least the morning dew.
If you are an early riser you may want to sleep in the morning of June 24, unless, of course, you live next to an Icelandic sorority, unlikely but not unheard of. Icelandic folklore says if you bathe in your birthday suit in the morning dew on the morning of June 24 you will keep aging at bay.
I don’t know about aging but you will keep a lot of things at bay following this frolicsome folklore.
Except maybe law enforcement and curious dogs anxious to greet their new yard mates…those noses are cold and so are the vinyl seats in the back of the squad car. So they say.
I’ve only been in the back of one cop car. It wasn’t on June 24. It was a minor misunderstanding involving my misinterpretation of some kooky Canadian law. I had a nice chit chat with the Queen and all is well. Nice lady, the Queen.
For those of us residing in the northern neck of the hemisphere, June has more daylight hours than any other month, so soak it up, there’s only about 200 shopping days until Christmas.
Farmer tan season is short…git ‘em while it’s hot.
I’ve never fancied myself much of a farmer but I’ve sported my fair share of farmer tans.
Baseball tan would be more accurate. Brown arms, brown neck, and one white hand.
A farmer tan and baseball tan have a lot in common; one’s earned working in a field, the other playing on a field.
It’s a little known fact that Michael Jackson wore one white glove as a tribute to all the hard working baseball players. A little known fact that even your genius buddy Google doesn’t know so you’ll just have to trust me.
When I was a kid I don’t remember my mom slathering us with sunblock every time there was a chance sunlight would touch our skin. I do remember a painful scrubbing during a failed attempt to get us somewhat presentable for a dentist appointment one summer. It took some convincing (a.k.a. screaming) to make her believe the “dirt” on my neck was in fact a tan.
Another little known fact…it’s possible to remove a tan with an S.O.S. pad and a little motherly elbow grease.
How did we survive without hourly slatherings of sunblock and an ever present water bottle? It’s a wonder we didn’t burn up and turn to dust.
Nowadays we’re surrounded by pasty, overhydrated kids with squeaky clean necks.
I remember wobbling down the driveway on my Coast King bicycle in a sun stroked stupor in search of the first water source available.
I always wondered why the morning dew tasted funky every June 24.