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70th annual Winter Fair to celebrate new year in agriculture

LEWISTOWN, Mont. – Celebrating a new year of agriculture and western culture, the 70th annual Montana Winter Fair will be held Friday, Jan. 30 to Sunday, Feb. 1, in Lewistown.

“We are truly a celebration of agriculture and livestock in the new year and of our western way of life here in Big Sky country and surrounding states,” said Karen Kuhlmann, board member of the Lewistown Downtown Association and member of the steering committee for the Montana Winter Fair.

Twenty diverse events offered

“Our fair is 70-years-old, has 20 diverse events at several different locations around the city, with the main events at the fairgrounds,” Kuhlmann said. “We also have many dedicated sponsors.”

As one of the largest ag shows in Montana, the fair brings in not just local folks, but people from all over the region and the state.

Kuhlmann said the Montana Winter Fair continues to grow each year with participants, young and old, coming from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota as well as Canada.

History of Montana Winter Fair

“Our fair started in Bozeman in 1945 with planning for the event, and then the fair actually started in 1946,” she said.

Ten years ago, the committee decided the fair should be held in a more central location in the heartland of Montana so more people could attend. Lewistown was selected and the fair has been there ever since.

Because it is the 70th anniversary of the show several special things are planned, so it is the perfect time for someone who has never taken in the fair to do so, she said.

There will be cash prizes awarded for many events and there are few fees or expenses for participants or attendees.

“We have lots of agricultural events and fun family activities at our fair – everything from youth livestock shows to team sorting on horseback, farm forums and even cupcake combat and a pinewood derby contest,” Kuhlmann said.

“The majority of the events are free to attend.”

From the Youth Feeder Steer/All Breeds Heifer Show to food contests, Old McDonald’s barn, kids events and ag farm forums, the Montana Winter Fair offers something for everyone.

Ag displays and more at trade show

The trade show opens on Friday, Jan. 30, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Trade Center at the fairgrounds. On Friday, the trade show will be open from 4 a.m.-8 p.m., and on Saturday, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be everything from clothing, unique western items and gifts to agricultural innovations, equipment, machinery, ag products, ranch saddles and tack, among other products and services at the show.

“Venders will be on hand to answer questions and help visitors find what they need in the way of ag tools, machinery or farm and home products,” Kuhlmann said, adding “Everyone will be surprised to see how much variety we are planning to have at the trade show.

“If you are looking for ag services or equipment or a gift for a friend, you will find it at the Montana Winter Show.”

Polar plunge benefits Special Olympics

Outside the Trade Center, The Polar Plunge, to benefit Special Olympics, is back for a second year to douse “good sports willing to take the plunge” for Special Olympics.

There will also be presentations on “Elk Bugling” and “Bow Hunting on an African Safari” as well as mini-shows by the Dance Syndicate and Lewistown Hoppers.

Quilt, fiber arts show a favorite

One of the favorites by both viewers and participants alike is the quilt and fiber arts show where fabulous quilts in all kinds of colors and fabrics are displayed each year at the Lewistown Art Center.

What kind of items will be on display?

Lots of clothing made from exotic yarns like camel, yak and buffalo, as well as traditional yarns will be desplayed. Also, items made of yarn like toys or bags, tablecloths or other unique items will be entered. Kuhlmann encouraged everyone to come and see this always-popular show and watch the unique demonstrations.

All items entered for the fiber arts exhibition contest must have been knitted, crocheted, woven, needle felted, or hand spun.

Items will be judged and then displayed for the remainder of the fair for a People’s Choice judging as well.

Avalanche awareness will be important topic at trade show

A special presentation on “Avalanche Awareness” will be offered at the Trade Center at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

“We will also have a free movie, ‘Thunderstruck 13’ that will be shown at The Judith Theatre at 2 p.m. further exploring avalanche awareness,” Kuhlmann said.

“Last year in Montana, we had a lot of avalanches with the way the snow crested so this movie is important.”

The movie will be 30 percent about climbing, 25 percent about technical powder riding, 10 percent about crashing, 10 percent about jumping, and 5 percent on snow bike footage.

ReCreations show, sale new this year

New this year is the ReCreations Show and Sale in the Agriculture Building from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday at the fairgrounds.

“ReCreations takes something old and recreates it, such as taking an old wooden pallet and making furniture, or making candles out of fenceposts,” Kuhlmann said.

They expect it to be a “hugely popular show” featuring art, crafts and furniture made from re-cycled material.

“It’s a shabby-chic show from stuff from flea markets to usable beautiful furniture,” she added. “You will be surprised at the amount of people who are interested in making a lamp out of and old musical instrument and so on.”

Check out MAA; bid for great merchandise

This year, the fair will be held in conjunction with the Montana Auctioneers Association state competition which will be held on Friday evening at the Trade Center at 6 p.m. at the Fergus Fairgrounds.

“Auctioneers will strut their stuff as wonderful items are auctioned off to winning bidders,” said Kuhlmann, urging everyone interested to come out and bid on “some great merchandise” while seeing the best auctioneers the state has to offer.

The Cold Hard Cash Show

The Cold Hard Cash Show is an original and innovative tribute to the music of Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three.

Tickets for The Cold Hard Cash Show are available online or at Don’s Store in Lewistown.

“They are really good and have presented across the states to good attendance. People love them,” Kuhlmann said.

Delicious tastes, delicious food

Looking for delicious foods like warm chili or yummy goodies like cupcakes and cinnamon rolls? There is all kinds of food to eat and flavors to enjoy at the trade show. There will also be food contests which begin on Saturday at the Eagles Hall.

The entries for the four main food contests – the Cupcake Combat, the Chili Contest, Dutch Oven cooking and the Cinnamon Roll Cook-off – will all take place on Saturday. Check the schedule for times and locations. Following the judging, the cinnamon rolls and chili will be available for sale.

The Montana Winter Fair Chili Cook-off is an open, judged competition. Participants can enter either a standard red chili or an unusual vegetarian or other type of chili.

The Dutch oven cooking contest accepts almost anything that can be cooked in a Dutch oven: Meat and potatoes; vegetable dish; dessert or sourdough. The best part, for those watching, is that the public can vote for the Taster’s Choice award. That means they must first taste all the delicious food!

Lots more to do and see

There is lots more to do and see including a fiddle contest, which is very popular and lasts all day long; an archery shoot; a photography contest; a pinewood derby; and the famous “Stick Horse Rodeo” for kids.

“The fiddle contest is so cute when the little kids get up there and fiddle,” Kuhlmann said.

The Montana Winter Fair gives “everyone a chance to come and enjoy the events, socialize with their neighbors, participate in the fair and just have a great time before going back to farm and ranch duties,” she said.

The fair is held the end of January each year because “our ranchers and farmers need to have a break before calving and lambing begins in earnest.”

Source: The Prairie Star

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