Rotary Family Fun Day Joins Fair

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This year’s Mid-Summer Family Fun Festival will boast more activities, games, contests and food than previous years.

The St. Maries Rotary Club’s annual event, which caters to families, will coincide with the Benewah County Fair this weekend.

“We really hope by combining the two events it will increase attendance for both and encourage those who may not attend the fair to come check it out,” Carol Humphrey said.

Children line up to take a turn on the water slide at last year's Family Fun Festival. The water attraction was easily one of the most popular attractions at the festival.

Children line up to take a turn on the water slide at last year’s Family Fun Festival. The water attraction was easily one of the most popular attractions at the festival.

The majority of the events will take place Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16 and 17. However, the Rotary Club will be at the fairgrounds selling lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 14 and 15.

“We will be serving homemade Sloppy Joes Thursday and then Hawaiian ham sandwiches on Friday,” Mrs. Humphrey said. “They are both really good.”

Mrs. Humphrey encourages families to come down for lunch and then spend time checking out what the rest of the fair has to offer.

Those who grew a pumpkin for the Heaviest Pumpkin Contest can check-in for the contest at 4 p.m. Thursday. The winner will be announced Sunday and there is a $200 prize on the line.

Events will start at 11 a.m. Saturday. There will be bouncy houses for children, a mechanical bull, craft table, a magician will perform at 3 p.m., there will be hot dogs and chili dogs served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and more. A professional face painter will be available beginning at noon.

A petting zoo will be on site this year from noon to 3 p.m. Children will be able to pet animals, feed them and have their photos take.

Enter the watermelon eating contest ($2). It will be held at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The water balloon launch contest, also $2, will take place at 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The new elk bugling contest will be at 5 p.m. with finals Sunday. Register at the fairgrounds. Hunters, and others, who think they have the ability to call in an elk, should plan to enter. The cost to enter is as follows: under 14 is $5; over 14 is $10. The winner of each category will win the pot. Only vocal or sounds produced by handheld instruments may be used. One cow-calf call and one elk sound per contestant.

There will be demonstrations throughout the day Saturday. Times and places will be posted. Anyone who is a grilling master will also be able to register for the Barbecue Challenge. The challenge boasts a $100 prize for the winner, a champion T-shirt, 10 percent off a pellet grill at Idaho Rigging, bragging rights and name engraved on the traveling trophy.

Cooks will also be able to register at 8:30 a.m. Sunday for the Barbecue Challenge with the winner announced at 2:15 p.m.

St. Maries’ resident John Connell won it last year with his recipe for baby back ribs. He does not know whether or not he will return to defend his title, but encourages others to compete.

“There were only three of us last year,” he said. “I would love to see it get bigger.”

Mr. Connell said he’s been grilling for quite a few years and was not surprised he won the contest.

“There are quite a few people in town who can attest to my quality when it comes to grilling,” he said. “If you can create good food at home come down and give it a go. Find out how good you really are.”

This will be the third year for the Barbecue Challenge.

Other events for Sunday include finals for the elk bugling, water balloon launch and watermelon eating contests. The heaviest pumpkin winner will be announced at 2:15 p.m.

There will also be several grand-prize drawings again this year. Potlatch has donated a load of firewood. Tickets are $10.

There will also be drawings for a two-minute $200 shopping spree at Archie’s IGA; two Silverwood tickets; a children’s bicycle from Hughes Ace Hardware; and a 50/50 drawing. Tickets for these prizes are $1 each or six for $5.

Those who purchase a family pass ($35), all day pass ($13) or individual event tickets ($2) will automatically receive a ticket for the drawings. The family pass is good for a family of four. Additional passes for a family larger than four cost $10 each.

The drawings will take place at 2:30 p.m.

The Kiss the Donkey Competition wraps-up at 3 p.m. Sunday. The contestants and their charities include Dale Hill, Wounded Warriors; Ginny Oakes, Hospice; Harry Grubham, CASA; Karen Gibson, St. Maries Volunteer Community Clinic; Margaret Lehmbecker, Community Outdoor Amphitheatre; and Jim Broyles, STRIVE Scholarships.

The person who raises the most will get to donate half their earnings to the charity of their choice. The loser(s) will have to kiss Lizzy, the donkey. The crowd will decide which end the loser (s) kiss.

The money raised from this year’s Mid-Summer Family Fun Festival will benefit the St. Maries Rotary Club’s Strive scholarship. If the scholarship is fully funded, any additional money will support the amphitheatre.

“We just hope everyone will come down to support and participate not only us, but also all those who have projects in the fair,” Mrs. Humphrey said. “It’s going to be a great weekend for families to come and have fun.”

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