LEWISTOWN — The Winter Fair has been a mainstay of Lewistown since 2003, when it moved from Bozeman. Last year - due to Covid - was the first time it was ever canceled. This year, it brought a lot more than just the fair back to town.
“We filled up at least 70 motel rooms,” fair board member Jennifer Saunders said. “That was just off the surveys people filled out. I’m sure we filled up way more. It was a great weekend.”
The last week of January is typically a busy one for Lewistown. The winter fair typically comes to town and it’s all about one thing.
“The winter fair is basically to kind of showcase agriculture in our community,” board member Cody Ream said.
When last year’s fair was canceled due to Covid, Fergus County knew this year’s fair would be something special, and the Chamber of Commerce agrees. They say the fair provides a good boost to the town’s economy. Total revenue is still being calculated but the Chamber was able to do more and helped participate in this year’s fair.
Executive director Laurie Huber said the fair is going in the right direction but wants it to reach its full potential.
“Our job is to advocate for our commerce, our town and our businesses and our members. To support them and offer network and resource opportunities. It could be more. And I think we just need to support the leadership that’s doing it. We need to voice the supply chain challenges and the importance of agriculture not just for Montana, but for this nation. And I think it’s just a nice little plug in the middle of winter. Something extra to do.”
The fair started in Bozeman and moved to Lewistown in 2003, where it has been well received.
“It went really well. For the youth beef show I heard it was one of the largest shows we’ve had in a long time,” Board member Sarah Bock said. “It was my first year doing it so I hadn’t been to one in the past, but I think it went really well.”
The fair board says it keeps growing and had more than 20 events this year. They don’t expect the growth to change anytime soon.
“I see everything growing. We have an enthusiastic board. I’m excited because we have a lot of young people coming up that helped with events and are on our board. So I foresee it growing more every year,” Saunders said.