Contributed by RL


You can smell the excitement in the air! Oh, that is the smoke from a fire burning not to far away on the east side of Bear Lake.

But really there is a feeling of excitement as people awake and begin their week then realize that this is fair week for Bear Lake county. ( Our 4-H youth and their parents have been looking forward to this week all summer; for mixed reasons of course.

The week starts off with an open junior horse show and check in for the 4-H animals and owners.

Tuesday kicks things up a bit with the entry of the 4-H food and gardening project check-in. You feel the excitement of these kids as they arrange their home grown vegetables to look their best for the judges hoping for a blue ribbon on their labors in their gardens. I have a granddaughter who planted watermelons at our home and dutifully watched after her little planting. But fair time came and no watermelons have been seen on her vine yet. In all honesty she did plant late but it still does not take away from her, that "ah" she felt, not to have any watermelons to take over to the fair this year especially after seeing a watermelon take a best in show at this years fair. But the good thing is she is young and can try again next year. That's what is great about county fairs, you learn and they are fun, for all ages.

Oh and there are the 4-H youth who are learning about their culinary skills. Cooking up such delights as cookies and cakes. How does one become a judge? Once the youth have turned their specialty goods and products in they close the buildings so the judges can take their time doing what they do, judging. (Which means they get to sample!) I think these kids are probably sitting on pins and needles.

Later the fair swings into gear with the opening of the carnival rides. You have to keep 4-H youth engaged now that they are at the fair grounds since they are waiting for their parents and older siblings to be in the team roping event later in the evening.

Then it is Wednesday the day of the big parade in downtown Montpelier. ( And we are serious about our parades here in Montpelier. Anyone driving through town after 8 am will see chairs, blankets with coolers on them, lawn chairs with water bottles in the arm rest and where they are not, there are cars. This does not include the cones that have to be put at the corners to keep people from parking right up on the street corners to watch. People get their favorite spot ready for a parade that does not start until 6 pm so you can see when I say we are serious about our parades.

Of course the fair is still going on over at the fair grounds for those who have not entered their animals as of yet. Along with the 4-H buildings opening so one can go and see how everyone, both young and old, did with the judges. But the big thing everyone is getting ready for is the parade. Whether they are riding horses or on a float. Candy has to be stored on these floats or on the horses for all of the parade watchers. (I am not talking about just a little candy here, I am talking about enough to give anyone a stomach ache for a week and then some. (Its almost better than Halloween!)

As the hour approaches the town swells; neighbors visit with neighbor and friends alike up and down the parade route. Then it starts; with the nations flag proudly waving in the lead with our local veterans holding the flag up proudly as they march in formation down the street.( We stand and salute as old glory passes by. Then the rodeo queens and the horse drawn wagons. What a grand sight they are to see! Then comes floats with the football teams, baseball teams, the dance academy, the preschool and day care floats, fire trucks and emergency relief vehicles all showing off their lights and sirens. Floats from every kind and size with business from the banks to our hospital, we even have families who have floats smiling, waving throwing necklaces and candy. It is a grand time for all! We even had our sheriff on his loyal horse, pulling along his captured villain in toe at the end on his rope, who on foot is walking downcast, in his handcuffs which he pulls off to wipe his eyes from the tears that ran down his cheeks for being caught, then replacing the handcuffs so the sheriff will not get mad.

Candy! Everyone in the parade had candy, ice pops, necklaces, Frisbees, and t-shirts to give out; why there were even chocolates from our own candy shop Papa's Chocolates ( right here in Montpelier Idaho. I got to tell you we brought a gallon bucket for our grandson to put his “treasures” in and by golly it was full to over flowing. So much so even we adults got to get a few of those treats. And I am pretty sure that our grandson probably had one of those stomachs that night.

After the big event everyone hustled out to the fair grounds to watch the entertainment (some of those doing the free shows were Sara Argyle, Green Sage Junction and “Jim Curry”) and along with the entertainment there was the Horse Pulls as well. They are still talking about it in town today.

Thursday and Friday sweep along in the same frantic fashion with everyone getting involved and having fun. There was the dairy judging with the Midnight Vista Dairy taking the show with their dairy animals but not far behind was the Jenson Dairy. The rodeo topped off both nights with our own local heroes showing their stuff.

Did I mention the fair donuts? If you ever come you got to have some! (My wife says the fair donuts are good but she likes the donuts that she makes from our neighbors recipe. So to be impartial here is Lula's recipe: 4 tbsp. yeast; ½ cup warm water; 1 cup butter; 3 1/3 cup milk; 2- 2/3 cups potato flakes; 1 tbsp. sugar; 3 cups boiling water; 4 eggs beaten. Mix together then add: 10 cups flour; 1 & ½ tbsp. Salt; 1 cup sugar. Mix all this together and let raise. Roll out and cut donuts. Then let raise again. Then fry in a deep fat fryer. Glaze with powdered sugar and milk mixture. Or just top with granulated sugar.)

Then there's the aroma form the rest of the food at the fair grounds that range from hoagies to smoked ribs which just about drives you crazy until you get some. (hope no one is on a diet this week)

Saturday morning rolls around and the 4-H animal auction begins with mixed emotions for these youngsters. It takes them a lot of hours of training and feeding to get these animals to their peak. Local businesses and interested parties bid while the ranchers, farmers and their families show up to watch, cheer and congratulate these kids on the great job they did on raising these animals. Then every one wanders over to the rides at the carnival and partake of that delicious food whose aroma fills the air at the fair. The rest of the day is filled with entertainment on the free stage and an ATV Race/ Rodeo as the sun starts to set.

Everyone is tired but happy! All that is left is to get the animals and all those quilts back home. School starts next week, what a way to end the summer vacation. Remember those emergency blankets, hand warmers, flashlights and emergency food at Rainy Day Foods for those trips to town and farther this winter. 'Til next time. RL