Celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2020, the Slope County Fair is the longest continuous running county fair in all of North Dakota. The first fair was held August 29-31, 1920 and continues to be held annually each summer in Amidon, ND. Kyle Frank fair board president says that while it can be taxing to put on a large event such as this year after year, that he is proud to be involved in creating an event in an effort to attract new folks each year.
Frank has been involved with the fair for about five years and goes on to mention that in a town of 20 people, and in a county of 700, it is an accomplishment to see how many show up to the annual fair. Supported by the local community, the fair relies on sponsorships and donations from many in the community. One of those supporters is Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T). “Dakota Community Bank & Trust brings up their ATM each year, but one of their biggest contributions to the fair is that they typically buy 1 to 2 premium animals a year from the 4-H show. That has been an annual deal that goes a long way,” maintains Frank.
“They (DCB&T) are willing to help out the community with anything, no matter what it is. We always see them at numerous community benefits. There is always someone there representing them. Being a part of the community says a lot. They actually show up and participate with our benefits.”
The fair kicks off each year on a Friday night with 4-H members checking in their exhibits and all of the 4-H judging happens. A 4-H livestock show starts Saturday morning off through the noon hour. There is also a barrel racing event, Cornhole tournament and horseshoe tournament as well as an annual rib cook-off in the evening. Alongside those events, a rodeo calcutta is held with all proceeds going back to the fair board in support of the next year’s fair. The evening concludes with a band and beer garden. Sunday mornings are reserved for ecumenical services followed by the 4-H premium sale at noon, the NDRA circuit rodeo, and a free-will meal that evening that benefits anyone in the county that has medical needs.
The Slope County Fair is many times the last stop on the NDRA rodeo tour prior to the NDRA finals. “So, we get a lot of people that come from Montana and wherever else to participate in that,” mentions Frank. He also says that while the NDRA rodeo is probably the biggest drive to the fair for attendees, he also knows the impact that the fair has on the 4-H kids. “Our 4-H kids are the main reason we have a fair with over 80 kids there. To me, that’s a big enough push, to see those kids there every year,” claims Frank. With fluctuating numbers each year as the fair revolves around harvest, the fair board is always working on something to make the fair better to draw people to the small community event. Though the 100th Slope County Fair committee is still in the planning stages, they are hoping to have a threshing bee, a car show, and other new activities in 2020.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director