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Beltrami County Fair still has commercial space available

BEMIDJI - There is still space for vendors at the Beltrami County Fair.

The fair will be held Aug. 8-12 at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds in Bemidji.

"It always gets close and people think we don't have room for them," Joe Waslaski, space rental manager for the fair, said.

There are still five booths available inside and plenty of space in the outside vendor area, Waslaski said. There is no deadline to file vendor paperwork and spaces are given on a first come, first serve basis.

As part of that, Waslaski is warning anyone running for political office who would like to hand out literature on the fairgrounds that they need to fill out vendor paperwork.

"We have to make it a fair playing field," Waslaski said. "Everyone needs to be treated the same, whether you're a little old lady selling raffle tickets, a Girl Scout selling cookies or someone running for office."

Waslaski currently has two political candidates who have filed paperwork and paid the fee to have a booth.

"I know there are a lot more out there who would probably like to hand out literature on the fairgrounds," Waslaski said. "We don't want it to create an issue when the fair starts."

Rodeo Adds Mounted Shooting

The Gold Mine Ranch/Triple B Rodeo, held as part of the Grandstand Entertainment during the fair, will be adding a cowboy mounted shooting demonstration to its lineup of events this year.

"We just want to make it a family-oriented event," Waslaski, who is also the rodeo director, said. "We're mixing a lot of things in with the sanctioned rodeo events."

Some of the events aimed at children include mutton busting, a calf scramble and a boot scramble. Children can also be involved with the cowboy mounted shooting demonstration.

"It's one of the fastest-growing equine sports and a lot of people don't know what it is," Waslaski said. "There's nothing really up here like this aside from the demonstration last weekend. It's nice to get something new up in this area."

The demonstration will be presented by the Wild Rice Peacemakers from Twin Valley, Minn.

Waslaski said he encourages fans to buy advance tickets, as the shows are likely to sell out. Advance tickets are available at Tom'stop, Jack'stop, Pete's Place West, Fugate's Country Store, Ace on the Lake and Blackduck Coop. Advance tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-12. Ticket prices at the gate are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Children ages 2 and under are free.

The rodeo will be held Aug. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. both nights in the Grandstand.

Fairgrounds sees changes

Other changes at the Beltrami County Fair include some new exhibiting areas for youth open class.

Fair Manager Paul Hokuf said there are now areas for knitting and gardening for youth in the open class area.

"There are also some projects happening on the fairgrounds that are being funded by legacy grants," Hokuf said. "You'll see the schoolhouse more alive with students and visitors this year."

Along with the Freeman Doud log cabin restoration project, construction on a forestry education center will also begin during the fair.

"It won't be open yet, but fairgoers will get to see the progress of it being built," Hokuf said.

The center will be located next to the fire tower on the fairgrounds.

"We hope to see a good turnout," Hokuf said. "The fair always brings out a good crowd."