For 67 years the Montana Winter Fair has been warming the middle of winter with a variety of events that celebrate Montana agriculture. This year the fair will hold events on Sunday, Jan. 19 and from Thursday, Jan. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Lewistown.
Karen Kuhlmann is very excited for the fair. Over 20 events, held at multiple venues, will draw visitors and participants from across Montana, the surrounding states and Canada.
“This year’s Montana Winter Fair will be bigger than ever before,” said Kuhlmann, who is publicity spokesperson for the event. In fact, it is so big this year it is expanding to new locations across Lewistown.
The pavilion and sale ring at the fairgrounds will host the Youth Beef Show and Youth Heifer Shows on Jan. 19.
This year the popular trade show and vendor show will also be held at the Trade Center at the Fergus County Fairgrounds.
“That is the largest facility in Lewistown,” Kuhlmann said. The Trade Center is totally handicapped accessible and heated with plenty of parking. Food services will be provided by Tall Boys Catering of Hobson throughout the Trade Show.
Additionally, the Dutch oven competition and tasting, and the Cupcake Combat contest will be held at the Trade Center.
Of course, they have plenty of speakers coming in to take part in the Farm Forums on Thursday and Friday. The Farm Forums always draw a huge crowd. Speakers and presenters will be announced soon.
“We’ve had a tremendous response in the past from our Farm Forum,” Kuhlmann said. With more speakers coming in this year, she expects there will be even more in attendance at the various Farm Forum presentations. The Farm Forum is hosted in the Grand Hall at The Eagles on Main Street in Lewistown.
Friday, Jan. 24, a concert by Cold Hard Cash will take the state at The Eagles. Cold Hard Cash, out of Great Falls, is a tribute band to Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three. They will be followed by Charlie Dennison and the Argonants. Tickets are available online at MontanaWinterFair.com or at Don’s Store in Lewistown.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Back Country Horsemen of Judith Basin will produce a big favorite for kids aged 4 to 8 – the Stick Horse Rodeo, which will be held in the sale ring. Miss Rodeo Montana is expected to participate in the Stick Horse Rodeo again this year.
The state fiddle contest, another highlight of the Winter Fair, will also be held during the day Saturday with the finals that night at The Eagles. Kids, tweens and teens all compete.
“They are fantastic. Some of the fiddles are almost as big as the kids,” said Kuhlmann.
On Sunday, Jan. 26, Team Sorting will take place at the fairground’s pavilion.
“Last year we had 120 teams for the team sorting,” Kuhlmann said. Each rider brought their horse and many brought extra mounts. Between horses and cattle and dogs “the fairgrounds are filled with people and livestock.”
Throughout the fair there will plenty of other things to do and enjoy. The Lewistown Bow Hunter’s Archery Fun Shoot will return. Youth and adults can try their archery skill indoors at The Eagles. There will also be a Pinewood Derby Racecar race where youth will get to build their own pinewood derby racing cars and then race them.
A Pen Show will be held at the fairgrounds where a variety of livestock and exotic animals will be on display. Other popular returning events include dog trials and snowmobile contests.
A photography contest will be hosted in Chokecherry Lane on Main Street. The quilt show, combined with fiber arts living exhibits, will be hosted at the Lewistown Art Center on Main St.
Of course, the Winter Fair would not be complete without food and food contests and this year, in addition to the Dutch oven and Cupcake Combats at the fairgrounds, there will also be cinnamon roll competitions and a chili cook-off. The micro-brew competition and tasting will be hosted at Brooks Market on Main Street.
And, of course, after the judging, all the food entries will be on sale to the public. Buy a bowl of chili for lunch and enjoy a decorated cupcake for dessert. The proceeds from the sales go to benefit the Montana Winter Fair and help it continue to grow and succeed.
Also on Sunday, Jan. 26, a Cowboy Church will be held at Celebration Community Church in Lewistown, which is home to the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the second oldest gathering in the country, and talented cowboy poets and musicians will perform after following the service. Everyone is welcome and doughnuts and coffee will be served.
“The Montana Winter Fair is a celebration of Montana agriculture,” said Kuhlmann. “Agriculture is the biggest industry in the state. There are 28,600 ranches and farms in Montana, creating a $2.9 billion industry each year. Lewistown is honored to host this prestigious celebration each January and we invite everyone to come and participate or come and simply enjoy!”
More information and updates about the Montana Winter Fair are posted at http://www.montanawinterfair.com/ or contact Chris Cooler, chairperson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Montana Winter Fair is produced under the aegis of the Lewistown Downtown Association and is a not-for-profit event.