Opening day of the fair: Livestock shows, veterans, magic and music

The East Otter Tail County Fair is celebrating 110 years on July 22-25.

Jensen Laugh 1.JPG
Zoe Jensen (left) and her Grandma Kris Jensen enjoy watching the Magic Joe performance on July 22, 2021 at the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

In its 110th year, East Otter Tail County fairgoers are excited to explore the activities. The fair runs from July 22-25.

The day opened with the 4-H goat show, including a lesson on just how challenging it is to raise goats and keep them fenced in at home. Throughout the goat, beef, poultry and sheep shows, 4-Hers shared their knowledge and stories while a judge viewed their animals. Even with the heat, the day has been a “successful day of 4-H experiential learning,” according to University of Minnesota Extension educator Janet Malone.

“They are learning life skills, they are gaining confidence in their leadership abilities to be able to articulate knowledge and to just persevere and have responsibilities and you can’t teach responsibilities out of a book,” Malone said. “Sometimes life lessons don’t come out of a book either and so sometimes we watch kids be very successful and that’s great and they gain confidence and then you’ll see a young person maybe not be so successful but even in disappointment they can learn and they can build the character that brings about a positive citizen.”

Goat Show EOT Fair.JPG
The morning kicked off with the 4-H goat show at the East Otter Tail County Fair on July 22, 2021. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)


Cloverbuds Beef Show.JPG
Cloverbuds Xavier Dorn (front) and Gunner Wegscheid make their way into the showing arena for the beef show at the East Otter Tail County Fair on July 22, 2021 (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

Amongst a small display from the In Their Own Words veterans museum , five veterans gathered for the Quilt of Valor presentation to Swan Loften. Loften served in South Korea for four and a half years. Fair board director Kayla Jahnke and Ramona Wippler shared their thanks while awarding the quilts that both honor and comfort veterans. Two more quilts will be presented over the weekend.

The quilts are awarded nationally to service members or a veteran touched by war through the Quilts of Valor Foundation started in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. In a poem by Roberts, she says:

“May this quilt keep you safe from harm

May it be your good luck charm

I don’t know your name nor the mountains that you face

but what you hold in your arms is a quilter’s embrace.”


Wippler said the Quilts of Valor is a growing program along with 4-H members who have helped make the quilts. She makes about six to 10 quilts every year, including some that head on a bus from Perham to Texas, to the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre and school assemblies in the area. The quilts are presented to as many veterans in as many places as possible, according to Wippler. In her own family, a quilt given to her father remained with him in assisted living and now her mother uses the quilt. The quilts are a powerful and touching award for all veterans, who each put their lives on hold to keep people safe, Wippler said.

Quilt of Valor EOT Fair.JPG
Fair board director Kayla Jahnke drapes a quilt on veteran Swan Loften as part of the Quilt of Valor presentation on veterans and daycare day at the East Otter Tail County Fair on July 22, 2021. Loften served in South Korea for four and a half years. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

Quilt of Valor EOT Fair 2.JPG
Loften and Ramona Wippler pose for a picture with the awarded quilt on July 22, 2021. Wippler makes about six to 10 quilts every year. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

Families also toured through the 4-H barns and the Future Farmers of America barnyard. In her first year as a Perham FFA member Alyiah Stoderl said the group has focused on team-building, including participating in the parade and running the barnyard at the fair. She enjoys showing off the sheep, cows and chicks “because the animals get to just stay at home in a field so it’s kind of fun for them to come and see some people and have fun.”

The magic show and hypnotist show also delighted young children as they magically colored an entire coloring book and met Bailey the bunny. People could also tune into Eric's Dance Band and The Cropdusters.


Magic Show EOT Fair.JPG
Magician Joe Barnett dazzles the crowd of families at the East Otter Tail County Fair on July 22, 2021. He had the crowd help him color an entire coloring book by pointing and saying their favorite color. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

Joe Barnett Magician.JPG
Barnett demonstrates how he knows the color of a crayon by smelling it while also explaining the trick of making it look like he can stick a crayon up his nose and bring it out of his mouth. He had three performances on July 22, 2021 at the East Otter Tail County Fair. (Rebecca Mitchell/Focus)

Parking at the fair is $3 though walk-ins are free. The carnival ride tickets are seven tickets for $20, one ticket for $3 and a family pack of 20 tickets for $50. Armbands are $20.

You can view the full schedule on the fair website.

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in enhancing online articles as well as education, feature and health reporting.
What To Read Next
The smart students behind Perham's Knowledge Bowl are making a splash and hope to go to state this year.
All the latest happenings in and around perham
The annual Otter Tail Plunge will be back at the Otter Tail Lake public boat landing on Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Honor Flight will take about 90 veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars to Washington, D. C.