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Gazette opinion: MontanaFair deserves a blue-ribbon

Gazette opinion: MontanaFair deserves a blue-ribbon

Patrick K. Goggins Junior Livestock Sale

Robert Valenzuela III shows his goat Fredrickson during the Patrick K. Goggins Junior Livestock Sale at MontanaFair at MetraPark in Billings on Aug. 21.

Another MontanaFair is in the books, and it should be awarded a blue ribbon.

MetraPark spokesperson Ray Massie said Friday that he was still waiting on the final numbers from the finance folks, but it appears that this year’s Fair had two of the top-grossing night concerts in the event’s history. The Kesha concert is the new all-time No. 1, and Cody Johnson came in at No. 3 (Kelly Clarkson in 2018 is No. 2.) This year’s night shows appear to have set a record with more than $700,000 in ticket sales.

Also, he said, the Mighty Thomas Carnival had its second-highest revenue year ever, even with two days of rain and two days of scorching temperatures. The carnival set a Saturday-night revenue record on August 14, and August 21 was the second-best Saturday ever.

Massie said that having last year’s MontanaFair, even though it was heavily modified, was a big help for organizers. “It was much easier to get into full swing of the fair than starting from scratch,” he said. “Credit should go to the community and the Yellowstone County commissioners for forging ahead in 2020, which led us to this place in 2021.”

It wasn’t the easiest of decisions back in 2020, and the fair took a lot of planning and re-planning on the fly to make it safe and enjoyable. The same was true this year.

We love MontanaFair. It celebrates agriculture, which has been the backbone of Montanans’ economy and livelihood since before statehood. And it’s also just plain fun.

But it should be remembered that it doesn’t just happen. Throwing a party for a quarter of a million people is stressful and demanding.

We are grateful to the MetraPark staff — General Manager Bill Dutcher, Assistant General Manager Tim Goodridge, Marketing Director Ray Massie and many others — and to the commissioners for all the incredible behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the Fair everything it is. It’s truly a world-class event right here in Billings, Montana, and we should all be proud of it.

The Billings Gazette Editorial Board includes President and Publisher Dave Worstell, Regional Editor David McCumber, and Chief Photographer Larry Mayer.


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