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Montana State Fair in Great Falls

Sunday was hot, it seemed like 100 degrees but it was only 97.

I had planned a trip to the Montana State Fair in Great Falls. The fair runs for 9 days but I may not get another chance to attend so, hot or not, Sunday was the day.

As we entered the fairgrounds, located on what is called Montana Expo Park, we saw a mule team pulling a wagon of fairgoers. I do need to confess – when I first saw the team and wagon I said “oh, there’s a team of horses”. Well, duh, a closer look told me it wasn’t horses. Then I saw the sign about a mule team. Aha, one step at at time towards my knowledge about animals.

We were walking around the large fairgrounds, trying to squeeze in as much of the fair as possible in one day (it isn’t possible). We probably should have taken the mule team wagon ride to get a glimpse of things while sitting down. There is also a small tour train that will drive you around the area for an overview.

The Montana State Fair charges admission to get in to the fairgrounds. You hear a lot of complaining about that but, once you get inside, there are so many free things to see. One stage has performing artists rotating all day. I enjoy looking at the entries in different buildings at the fair – everything from baked goods to knitting to artwork and flowers.

Youth involved in 4-H also are an active component of the fair. We wandered through a couple of the barns to see their agricultural projects. In the sheep barn they were shearing and clipping sheep, getting them ready to show. Talk about detailed! It was a beauty shop for sheep.

This little gal was sitting in her stroller and really analyzing the sheep in their pens, big ones, little ones, and different colors. They were all very interesting.

We saw the railroad/train displays which are all located in one building. This is also dubbed the Montana Railroad Museum and backers of this effort add a few new items each year.

Coolest spot on the fairgrounds – the flower displays in the Fine Arts building. Speaking of buildings – the buildings at Expo Park are in the Art Deco style and in the last few years they have really been spruced up.

There are two carnival areas at Montana State Fair – one for young kids is located on a nice grassy area and the tummy-twisting rides are on the main midway area. The young kids area was hopping Sunday with lots of Moms and Dads, grandparents too, and then the little tykes.

I took this photo as I walked through the carnival area for young kids. The bright colors caught my eye and I’m sure they also caught the eye of many a small child!

One thing I haven’t mentioned – food! A trip to any fair is a time to put away the calorie and cholesterol charts. No, this isn’t a doctor’s opinion! I enjoyed a Viking (fried meatball on a stick) from the Sons of Norway booth. I was too full for sweet potato fries and we left before I had any ice cream from the 4-H booth. If I get back to the fair this week I could probably work those two items in, or maybe an Indian taco, or…any of several more fried yummies.

A trip to any of north central Montana’s fairs is a summertime treat. Enjoy the experience.

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