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Fair nears opening date

The largest single county fair in North Dakota is in its last days of preparation for the 2010 event, according to Jim Exner, Stutsman County Fair Board member.

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Keith Norman / The Sun Deb Hatlewick, 4-H and volunteer coordinator for the Stutsman County Extension Service, and Daven Dockter of the Busy Butterfly 4-H Club of Medina, together set up sheep and hog pens in the livestock barn at the Stutsman County Fairgrounds. The fair opens next week.

The largest single county fair in North Dakota is in its last days of preparation for the 2010 event, according to Jim Exner, Stutsman County Fair Board member.

"If it isn't broke, don't fix it," he said. "We've got good entertainment all four nights and we're very fortunate to have one of the better carnivals in the region every year in the Greater Thomas Shows."

Exner said he expects the carnival to have some new rides and attractions this year to go with some new features designed to make the visitors time at the fair more enjoyable.

"We've been developing a comfort station in what was the Merchant Building," he said. "It is kind of a lounge for people to rest after they pick up their food along the midway."

Visitors will make their fair food choices from 17 vendors this year.

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"Hot dogs, walking tacos and any food like that all taste better at the fairgrounds," Exner said.

For many the attraction to the Stutsman County Fair will be the exhibits by the 4-H youth of the county.

"Our exhibitor numbers are steady from previous years," said Deb Hatlewick, 4-H and volunteer coordinator for the Stutsman County Extension Office. "Our static exhibits are down about 100 but the livestock exhibits are up."

This means that 231 4-H exhibitors will display 1,450 projects varying from sewing to cattle and horses.

A new event this year for the 4-H participants is a 3D archery shoot.

"Twelve youth have gone through the training and 24 have expressed an interest," Hatlewick said. "This will be the first of what we hope is an annual event. Most of the other things we'll do are the tried and true."

One feature of the 2010 Stutsman County Fair is both tried and true and new.

"We have great performers all four nights," Exner said. "But we're happy to have the reunion of the Nightrider Band."

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The Nightrider Band was one of the more popular country rock bands in the area back in the 1980s. Many of the members are coming back together for the reunion concert at the fair.

Along with music, 4-H exhibits and food the Stutsman County Fair offers a petting zoo, rodeo and car races.

"The rodeo has come a long ways in the seven years since they started," Exner said. "And car racing is the biggest spectator sport in Jamestown."

The Stutsman County Fair runs from July 7 to 10. Admission to the fair is $4 for adults and $1 for teens per day.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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