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Fair goes full steam as sun shines

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BY Sarah smith

It’s been a great week for the fair.

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The weather cooperated, ice cream sales were booming and the crowds materialized.

The 119th annual Shell Prairie Agricultural Association’s 2014 Hubbard County Fair is indeed “louder, bigger with better grandstand shows,” as promised in the advertising.

Wednesday night’s talent show was so packed, fair personnel had to set up additional seating.

Thursday night’s AWF Wrestling match was well attended, too, but 45 minutes late.

That worried fair board member Cal Johannsen.

“We don’t have any lights out here,” he said. “It’s getting dark.”

But as a marketing strategy, it was a brilliant move.

A truck with the wrestlers broke down in St. Cloud so fair personnel put up a sign that the 7 p.m. show would start at 7:30 instead.

At 7:45 p.m. the first wrestler entered the ring – to boos.

Meanwhile, the food concessions stands went gangbusters as the hungry crowd carted ice cream cones, French fries, tacos in a bag and other munchies into the stadium.

Beer sales were brisk.

The newly changed layout also received approval.

Instead of a north-south designation, the events were moved east-west.

Johannsen said it took a lot of ground moving and volunteer labor to get the layout changed, but it was worth the effort.

He’d always worried that the north-south designation could be a liability if a monster truck, tractor or other large equipment escaped the arena and plunged into the Midway.

The wrestlers quickly got the crowd behind them, though.

Or maybe it was the new slushies the ice cream shack was selling in nearly two dozen flavors.

On a warm evening, they seemed to hit the spot. Once word got out, fair guests were mixing and matching wild combinations of flavors.

Over at the Paulson Livestock barn, 4-Hers Allison Offerdahl and Isabelle Brakke were manning, in a matter of speaking, the “Ask a “4-Her” table.

The cheerful duo, who was minding Allison’s Gold Star Hen, Turbo, laughed when asked if they’d gotten an weird questions.

“One guy asked how tall is the Empire State Building,” the grade schooler said. “I didn’t know.”

She felt bad about disappointing the fans.

She also apologized for being one hen short. Her second chicken flew the proverbial coop.

Fair action continues with a monster truck show Friday night, the tractor pulls Saturday and a modified tractor and truck pull Saturday night.

Sunday the North Country Mud Racing Association has a mud run, new this year at 1 p.m. Sunday.

And if you have little ones that was to go on the rides, Crescent City Midway only operates Wednesday through Saturday.

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ssmit

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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