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Finding fair fun in Beltrami County: More than 27,000 expected to attend annual summer event

BEMIDJI — Funnel cakes, farm animals and fun will reign supreme this week.

Starting Wednesday through Sunday, more than 27,000 people from across the country are expected to attend the 110th annual Beltrami County Fair. The fair will feature a carnival, food vendors, a rodeo, a traveling Vietnam museum and many other events.

Vern Holzhueter, the president of the Beltrami County Fair, said a new event will be coming to the fair grandstands this year: lawn mower racing.

In January, fair board members attended a meeting of state county fairs where they met with the Minnesota Lawn Mower Racing Association and decided to bring them to this year’s Beltrami County Fair.  

“These are lawn mowers that go up to 60 miles per hour,” Holzhueter said. “That will be something we’ve never had before, something new and I think it will be quite fun.”

The races will  take place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the grandstand and will be comprised of multiple heats, one of which will feature area racers.

“It seems like either screaming engines or blood, sweat, and sinew attract the people,” Holzhueter said.

The strategy seems to be working well for the fair. According to Holzhueter, the Beltrami County Fair is one of the largest fairs in the area and attracts people from multiple states and countries.

“Last year, we had cars in our parking lot from three provinces and 31 states,” he said.  

It’s not just adrenaline-filled activities that attract people, however. The local 4-H organization will also be showing more than 1,000  projects at the fair, some of which the members have worked on for more than a year.

Ann Marie Ward, the Bemidji 4-H program coordinator, said there will be thousands of exhibits and projects made by 4-H members at the fair for the public to view.

“This year, we have about 240 4-H youth, kindergarten through grade 13 registered to exhibit at the county fair. Within that brings literally thousands of exhibits between livestock, general education projects, companion animals and performing arts,” she said.

Aside from projects, Ward said there will also be 14 different animal shows hosted by the 4-H. “I liken it to hosting 14 weddings in a week. Every show is that important to the kids in it and their families,” Ward said.

Other noteworthy events taking place during the week are a children’s talent show at 6 p.m. Wednesday and a chicken race at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission to the fair is $5 per car load. Individual events and activities may have additional costs. To register a child for the children’s talent show, call (218) 751-9309.

For more information on the Beltrami County Fair, visit