Boundary County prepares for fair week 2023
By Christian Weaner
Each August, when all the Boundary County Fair activities are over and the fairgrounds clears out, fair manager Paula Burt and the small fairgrounds staff take a collective sigh of relief, appreciating another successful fair week.
Then, for approximately one month, Paula takes some time to relax, recharge, and take her mind off anything fair-related before all the planning begins again.
"When the fair ends, I try to take a month off from thinking about it," Paula noted. "But getting entertainment acts and judges must be done early."
By mid-September, Paula is back to work, coordinating the fair theme and artwork ideas for the next year and preparing a submission to the fair board, which is made up of five individuals—Ken Goggia, Stacie Watts, Bert Wood, Glenda Poston and Dave Wenk—who make the final decisions on fairground improvements and activities.
This year, Paula's process remained the same, and after 11 months of hard work and planning, she is excited for all that the 2023 Boundary County Fair, which runs from August 8 through 12, has to offer.
As this year's fair theme states, Paula and the fairgrounds staff are ready to Sew It. Grow It. Show It!
Each year, the fairgrounds staff encourages residents to submit ideas for the next fair theme, and the final selection this time seemed obvious.
"This year's theme was actually submitted by two people—one from previous years and the other this year," Paula explained. "So, the [fair] board decided it must be a great idea."
For 2023, the fair book cover artwork was designed by Shelli Cowell, and Bri Feuerstein created the winning T-shirt design.
As far as events at this year's fair, Paula excitedly pointed out that many past favorites will be returning, and some new activities will be added to the schedule as well.
Plans are in place to have a yard game area on the blacktop for fair-goers to enjoy throughout the week, and the corn hole tournament will once again take place on Wednesday night.
"We had such great feedback about the corn hole tournament that we are bringing that back with live entertainment from Christy Lee and Luke Yates," Paula said. "We hope to make it an annual event."
Last year, the butterfly house was a big draw, and Paula said she plans to bring it back for children of all ages to enjoy again this summer.
Additional headline activities for each day at the 2023 Boundary County Fair include:
Tuesday: Opening ceremonies starting at 6pm
Wednesday: Cornhole tournament at 5pm with live entertainment at 7pm and a beer garden
Thursday: Family Fun Night sponsored by 4-H and FFA starting at 6:30pm
Friday: Livestock auction at 7pm
Saturday: Fair parade at noon, and free concert beginning at 7pm with a beer garden
"This will be the fourth year we have offered a free concert on Saturday night for everyone to come out and relax while celebrating another successful fair year," Paula said.
The concert will feature attention-grabbing, high-energy tunes from Coeur d'Alene-based rock and country group The Sam Leyde Band.
Planning and executing a successful fair week requires a lot of time, manpower and money, and Paula acknowledged that the fair would not be possible without the selfless support of numerous individuals throughout the Boundary County community.
"We always have a need for volunteers during the fair," Paula explained. "There are volunteers who have been helping with the fair for over 25 years; some are ready to step down and let the younger generation step up, but we have a hard time finding those willing to come out."
As another fair week quickly approaches, Paula took a moment to reflect on some of her favorite fair memories. The 2020 fair came to mind right away.
"It was our 100th [anniversary] fair, and the world was shut down, but we were determined to celebrate this milestone," Paula remembered. "We were creative in how to abide by the social distancing rules that were in place and still try to maintain some normalcy to the fair.
"Everyone was still able to come and enjoy the fair if they wanted—and it even created some new events that we still enjoy!"
For Paula, that resilience and community collaboration is what the Boundary County Fair is all about, and it is the reason she loves what she does.
"I enjoy seeing the community come together and enjoy all the different things the fair has to offer," Paula said. "It's great to see the youth help one another out and set aside any differences they might have in another setting."
To learn more about volunteering/donating, view the full schedule of activities, and download the 2023 fair book, visit BoundaryCountyFairgrounds.com.