By Amanda Breitbach
Prairie County Extension Agent and Fair Manager Sharla Sackman said the 72nd annual event held this weekend was a success.
“I thought it went well. The weather was great for us,” she said. While the area did get some rain, Sackman said the moisture did not slow down any of the events.
The fair was several weeks earlier this year than it has been in the past. Action began on Thursday with the judging of 4-H food entries and continued with showmanship and the open class horse judging on Friday.
Moving the horse judging to Friday was new this year, and Sackman said she believed the scheduling contributed to a good turnout of entries from neighboring counties, especially Dawson and McCone.
“The kids did a really nice job with their animals this year,” she added.
Saturday kicked off with the parade, showcasing local organizations and people expressing the theme, “Generations of fun.” That afternoon’s Bump and Run, hosted by the Prairie Action League, had an impressive turnout, with 479 people in attendance.
The performance of “Zorro’s Back in Town” by the Parched Prairie Players also enjoyed good attendance, with an audience of almost 200.
Jo Ausk, a longtime member of the Players, agreed with Sackman’s enthusiastic evaluation of the fair.
“I think it went terrifically,” she said.
The show by the Parched Prairie Players was especially memorable because it celebrated the group’s 20th anniversary of performing.
“The people had some laughs, and that’s what our plays are about,” Ausk said.
She was also pleased with the performances by some of the newest actors.
“We have a terrific amount of young talent,” she said, adding that she looks forward to seeing some of the same actors in productions at the high school.
The fair wound down on Sunday with the Prairie County Homemaker Pie Auction and the Ranch Rodeo, where area cowboys kept 364 spectators on the edges of their seats.
Exhibit entries were up in most departments, and fun activities like the inflatable “Lil Pumper Slide” and “Boulder Dash” supplied by Fun on the Run Amusements and the petting zoo created by Dan and Les Thomason kept fairgoers happy.
Delicious fair food was also popular with fair attendees.
“Honestly, I think we boast some of the best fair food booths in eastern Montana,” Sackman said, noting that the variety of food items is especially appreciated by those who spend most of the week at the fair.