Between the years 1900 and 1920, the population of Bonners Ferry grew exponentially from 349 residents to 1,236. The town became the center of a lumbering and farming community, and today the population is estimated to be 2,500. We are a close-knit, friendly community and one that likes to celebrate our heritage and the industries that have been integral to our history. For nearly 100 years, the Boundary County Fair has been a tradition for residents of North Idaho. Beginning in 1920, the fair has been a place for community members to gather and share all that is so wonderful about living here. And this year will be no different.
Taking place August 16 through August 19, there will be many opportunities for all ages to enjoy this year’s fair. This year’s theme is “What’s Cooking at the Boundary County Fair.”
“The theme for this year was submitted by Pat Dinning, and the artwork was by Gerrie Wood,” said Fair Administrator Paula Burt. Anyone can submit an idea or artwork for the upcoming fair by October. The fair board then votes on which one will be used for the following year. The theme will be displayed throughout the different areas, along with a coloring contest open to all ages and the kids’ recipe contest and award for the best-decorated cake reflecting the theme.
Those involved with the fair, who include board members Chairman Bert Wood, Vice-Chairman Ken Goggia, members Glenda Poston, Gayle Alexander and Craig Kelson, Fair Administrator Paula Burt, Administrative Assistant Linda Cromwell and Maintenance Supervisor Donnie Plato, all work hard throughout the year to make sure this event is the best possible experience for everyone.
And the Boundary County Fair is not only a fun tradition for the community but also for visitors.
Because admission to the fair is free, tracking the number of attendees is difficult, however, they know they have reached beyond the community when many travelers stop in and tell them how much they enjoy our small county fair and compliment the staff and board on how much they enjoy the traditional county fair.
Not only is the Boundary County Fair successful due to the number of people who attend, but the backing it receives from countless people throughout North Idaho plays a large factor.
“We have great support from our local businesses and community members. The fair would not be possible without everyone’s contributions. We appreciate everyone that supports us,” said Burt.
According to the board, the biggest attraction throughout the four-day event is typically Family Fun Night, which is put on by 4-H and takes place on Saturday. It is an evening of family fun and entertainment for all ages that takes place in the outdoor arena followed by a family friendly dance in the indoor arena.
“The livestock auction that takes place on Friday night of the fair also draws a large number of participants. 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) participants have the opportunity to auction off their animals—rabbits, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and steer,” said Burt. “We also have a parade on Saturday at noon.”
Another big attraction that all ages enjoy watching is the lumberjack exhibition, which takes place each day.
One of the great things about the fair is the extent to which kids are involved. There are more than 200 4-H and FFA kids involved, showing animals, exhibiting a cooking or sewing project, participating in archery, and displaying jewelry and other projects they have worked on throughout the year. There are also open class exhibits for the youth to enter.
Burt shared that the fair royalty is open to all 4-H and FFA students ages 15 through 18. Applications are taken each spring and royalty is crowned during the opening ceremonies. The highest scoring king and queen each receive a $500 scholarship from the Boundary County Fair Board.
“We also have a Little Princess and Prince contest. This is for children ages 3 through 10 years old and chosen through a random drawing then announced at opening ceremonies,” said Burt. “Those entries are available August 1 and due by August 16.
Festivities will begin on Wednesday with numerous activities throughout the day and culminating with the opening ceremonies that will take place at 6:30pm at the indoor arena.
On Thursday, the food booths open at 7am to kick off a day that includes the lumberjack show, baking contests, cooking demonstrations, 4-H and FFA judging and showing and much more.
Friday offers another opportunity to see the lumberjack show and chainsaw carving as well as a monster cookie contest and a paper airplane contest. Mark your calendar for 7pm that evening, as you won’t want to miss the market animal sale at the indoor arena. Buyer numbers will be available at sale time.
On Saturday, the final day of the fair, there will be a variety of fun events including a watermelon eating contest, a soccer challenge contest, the parade and Family Fun Night.
These are just a sampling of what to expect at this year’s fair; there will be much more!
For those who like a challenge, there will be a “What’s Cooking” scavenger hunt during the fair. Once it is completed, entries will be put into a drawing for a $15 cash prize.
What are you waiting for? See what’s cooking at the Boundary County Fair this year!