By NDSU Extension Office
The Hettinger County fair was one that will not soon be forgotten.
What started as a wonderful fair was dealt a blow, when the 4-H Exhibit hall was destroyed by a tornado on Friday, July 12.
The hall contained approximately 400 exhibits, projects that 4-H, FFA and adults had spent hours creating.
The 4-H families were contacted and were asked not to come to the fairgrounds for safety reasons and that we were not able to get into the building on Saturday morning.
After being at the fairgrounds until 1 a.m. securing the area, the Hettinger County Fair board and NDSU Extension Office jumped into action as early as 5 a.m. on Saturday, along with Sheriff Sarah Warner and Mayor Troy Mosbrucker, it was determined that the parade and demolition derby would be cancelled.
The fair board, then decided to move the meal to the Knights of Columbus Hall, were the work crews could be fed and get into the air conditioning for a while.
They then coordinated the dance to be moved to main street along with the fireworks display for Saturday night –this was not a small feat.
Thanks to the fair board members, Alicia & Travis Gunwall, Ben & Heidi Marxen, Holly & Dusty Ebner, Travis Schmidt,and Justin & Lakrisha Augare. Special thanks to Gerritt & Jenni Swindler Farms and Laufer Farms as they assisted with the setup and with equipment.
In the aftermath the Hettinger County 4-H family came to help with the cleanup in Mott.
There were more than 30 4-H members and parents from the surrounding area, New England and Regent that came armed with chainsaws, rakes, trailers and pick-ups and most of all manpower!
They went where ever they saw a need.
Some volunteered to help serve or brought bars to the meal at the KC Hall for the work crews.
The offer of assistance came from as far away as NDSU Fargo, we received phone calls as early as 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
We also received offers of assistance from FFA and 4-H groups from Morton and Mercer counties.
One 4-H family from Griggs County called the Extension office on Monday after the storm, the kids watched the news and want to donate their 4-H premium money to 4-H in Hettinger County.
When the ok was given to go into the building we were able to retrieve approximately 85 percent of the exhibits, some came out unscathed others looked like a building fell on them.
There were 140 man hours put into retrieving the projects.
Larger projects actually had the building resting on them, which allowed other projects to be brought out.
We would like to thank the crew that helped to retrieve the projects, Ben & Heidi Marxen, Aaron Marxen, Gerritt& Jenni Swindler and the boys from South Africa –Adrian, Dolf and Michael.
We would also like to thank the Hettinger County Maintenance Crew for cleaning up the building after the projects were removed.
There is another group that the NDSU Extension office, Hettinger County 4-H and Hettinger County Fair board would like to thank the Hettinger County Sheriff’s office without their quick actions this would have had a very different outcome, thanks for getting everyone from the fair grounds to safety! As we continue to move forward, thanks to all of those who have called with grant offers and offers of assistance.
We will continue to keep everyone informed as we start to rebuild.