DODSON — The old grandstands building was a staple of the Phillips County Fair. This year on April 5, a windstorm took it out and now, there are temporary seats and they are what Phillips County must use for their fair.
“We got them from the drag strip in Malta,” fair board member Shane Anderson said. “They’re not ideal, but they’ll work and I’m sure we’ll fill them out.
The small town of Dodson knows how to throw a big party. It's done so for more than a century with the Phillips County Fair, the longest continuous running fair in Montana. This year will be much different with the lack of the grandstands leaving the fair board in a scramble to get everything ready.
They were destroyed, leaving just a concrete slab and memories in its place.
"It was pretty devastating to see everything laying around out here, all the debris and the roof torn off this grandstand,” Anderson said. “I’ve been coming to this fair basically since I was born. This is everyone’s one vacation a year basically, coming to the fair. It’s pretty important to everyone in this county.”
Anderson described it as the centerpiece of the fairgrounds. You know, it's kind of the focal point people gathered for all the shows and events that we do at the fair. So, yeah, it's disappointing to see it.
This fair means a lot to those that organize it and those that attend it.
Many Phillips County residents would likely agree their county wouldn't be the same without it. The fair will be different, but the show must go on.
"That's a really big deal for us. It seems like it's such a loss, especially that structure that's been there so long,” board member Carly Bishop said.
“I feel like there's so much history there. I've have been at the fair for all my life. And so I remember it as a kid being that thing that we always looked forward to and a small little town. So it was, you know, the event of the year was such a big deal as a kid.”
The fair is scheduled for August 4th through the 7th. You can visit their website for more info.