Well NoDak Mother Nature is drunk again…every year(that I’ve lived in NoDak) since I was a little girl, I have tromped through the mud and jumped the puddles to go to the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City. It is coincidentally held around, or during, my birthday every year. The North Dakota Winter Show is the longest-running agriculture show in North Dakota. As a kid, we would head up to the winter show barn. The air smelled of sawdust, livestock, fair food and cigarette smoke(it was the early 90s). Dad would have us lie about our age so he could save a buck on admission, and we’d go in and gawk at all of the booths; some were ag-themed, some not-to-much.
There has been a guy selling balloons shaped like critters and light-up toys since the beginning of time: he’s always to the right of the entrance, just on the other side of the information booth. There’s the guy wearing a headset and doing his own little cooking show while trying to sell cookware…Hubby and I own a set-he’s very convincing! There’s the soft serve ice cream booth, bedazzled western purses and hats, tools from hand-tools to combines, you can find experts in booking hunting excursions, real estate, reflexology and everything in between. There are dealers in vehicles, hot tubs, corn stoves, creams and salves, windows, welcome mats and honey.
Besides all of the booth-shopping, there are events happening during the show. In the main arena there are rodeos, livestock judging, horse pulls, tractor pulls, pickup pulls, and if pulling isn’t your thing-there’s even a concert scheduled during the show. There’s also a small stage where speakers with agronomic topics or lesser-known family entertainers can distract the crowd. There’s a children’s weekend where inflatables and yard games are set up, so a family can take a break from the weather and let the kids run off some steam.
And…let’s not forget the food! It’s fair food in the late winter/spring. If you want a footlong corndog with a side of mini donuts, you’re covered. Nachos with a side of cotton candy? Done. How about a bison burger stacked with some cheese curds with a side of kettle corn? You are welcome. Yes, if nothing else-it’s a great lunch escape.
The winter show is educational, entertaining, and sometimes a guilty lunch pleasure, plus there’s the nostalgia of an event that people have been going to for 81 years! The North Dakota Winter Show ushers in spring and allows families to make memories with their kiddos the same way their parents, grandparents and maybe great grandparents did with them. There aren’t a whole lot of those opportunities still around. So even if drunken Mother Nature has decided that we’ll be trudging through snow instead of mud this year, my family will be attending the North Dakota Winter Show. If you get a chance, I suggest you do the same.