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East Otter Tail Fair wrapped up with strong numbers

Three straight days of sunny weather helped the East Otter Tail County Fair enjoy a nice comeback from last Thursday's rainy opener. Along with seeing big crowds for Friday and Sunday's Tractor Pulling events, the EOT Fair saw a monster crowd tur...

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Natalie Rooney of Perham, left, and Baylie Krueger of Pueblo, Colo., rode the Octupus. Brian Hansel/FOCUS

Three straight days of sunny weather helped the East Otter Tail County Fair enjoy a nice comeback from last Thursday's rainy opener.

Along with seeing big crowds for Friday and Sunday's Tractor Pulling events, the EOT Fair saw a monster crowd turn out for Saturday's Demolition Derby.

"Saturday night was crazy," East Otter Tail County Fair Board Secretary/Treasurer Diane Sazama said. "We had a lot of people here on Saturday. The stands were completely filled for the Demo Derby and people were standing. We told them ahead of time, but they didn't care, they were willing to stand for it."

C.J. Zacharias ran the Demo Derby for the first time, and he estimated the derby drew 30 cars and drivers.

Cody Sazama , Hunter Sazama and Dustin Pribbernow were the top three finishers in the Small Cars Class. Tony Koep took top honors in the Builders Class and also claimed the Hardest Hitter trophy. Runner-up honors went to Lonnie Olson with third place going to Gemini Strehlow. The top two finishers in the Full-Size Trucks Class were Chris Johnson and Nate Westenburg.

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"We had a few more people than we would normally have had for both the tractor pull and the demo derby. West Otter Tail canceled their events because they had too much rain down there. It was unfortunate for them but it was an extra perk for us."

Sazama said the East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Fairs are not likely to clash again next year because the EOT Fair will most likely run July 25-28.

"We won't be coinciding with them," Sazama. "We will not be bumping heads with West Otter Tail; however, we could be bumping up against events with Becker County though. We could either hit We Fest or their county fair."

Sazama said the EOT Fair Board has lined up the Family Fun Show Carnival and will be renewing a five-year contract.

"The dates of county fairs are always in general determined by what is available with the carnival," Sazama said. "We have a fabulous carnival, so we are willing to be whatever they say we can be. They brought a fabulous show. There were 17 rides on the grounds."

While the fair attendance was once again in the 15,000 range, Sazama admitted the big fair wooden building on the northeast side of the grounds needs repairs. Thursday's steady rain lent itself to some leaks.

"It's going to take a lot of money to repair this building, and we would love to have it repaired. We're open to donations, so if anybody wants to make a donation to fix our roof we'd be happy to have it," Sazama said, tongue in cheek. "It's going to take a lot of money, but it's also going to take a total makeover on the outside all the way down to the ground. It's a pretty solid structure."

All the buildings on the fairgrounds are owned by the East Otter Tail Agricultural Society.

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The East Otter Tail County Fair won the UPM Memorial Traveling Trophy from the National Tractor Pulling Association (NTPA). The trophy goes to the fair judged to have the best tractor pulling track.

For some of the 4-H crowd, the next stop will be the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. The state fair is slated for Aug. 23 through Sept. 3.

Related Topics: EAST OTTER TAIL COUNTY FAIR
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