Food, fun and family at the 2014 Carlton County Fair

Come one, come all to the 124th annual Carlton County Fair. There was hustle and bustle as the fairgrounds came to life on Tuesday with volunteers and workers preparing for this year's fair. The busiest building on Tuesday was the 4-H building, w...

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Tucker Korpi, 7, listens closely as Joyce Salzer asks him questions about his covered wagon made out of birch bark. Korpi got the idea from watching shows like “Gunsmoke” with his grandpa. Korpi is a member of the Family Pride 4-H in Carlton. Jamie Lund/

Come one, come all to the 124th annual Carlton County Fair.

There was hustle and bustle as the fairgrounds came to life on Tuesday with volunteers and workers preparing for this year’s fair.

The busiest building on Tuesday was the 4-H building, where judging was done as the participants entered their projects.

Joyce Salzer teaches at South Terrace in Carlton and has volunteered to take entries for the Cloverbuds.

“I like working with little kids...listening to what they have to say,” said Salzer.


The Cloverbud category is for children under 8 years old and everyone receives a participation ribbon. There were 135 items registered already and the day was only half over.

Seven year old Tucker Korpi has been entering for over half of his life already, starting at the ripe old age of 3.

His 12-year-old brother, Bertie, had a stack of different entries for several categories ready to go.

Tucker entered a covered wagon he made out of birch bark while the family was on vacation in Ely. He got the idea from watching television reruns of old shows like “Gunsmoke” with his grandpa.

He also entered carrots after it took him three tries to finally get his garden to grow. His mom prompted him about why he chose carrots and then he smiled, “They are my favorite fruit,” he said shyly.

The volunteers are already manning their stations to greet this year’s participants as they complete paperwork and collect the entries.

It takes about 150-200 people to work together to create this fun, family- friendly event.

The groundskeepers were finishing up preparing the bathrooms, buildings and any last minute items that needed attention on Tuesday.


The fair manager’s office was buzzing with activity and has been preparing for this day since last year’s fair ended.

There are a few changes this year.

The Demolition Derby has been changed to Saturday evening, while the Figure 8 races have been moved to Sunday evening.

A new addition is the “Mini-Machinery Hill” in the center of the fairgrounds.

Businesses from around the area will display examples of their machines, from tractors to four-wheelers with a few boats thrown in also.

Another addition this year is compliments of Sappi Fine Papers, which will send six people a day to help with recycling as well as put out the recycle bins.

This year all of the vendor spots have been filled and some actually had to be turned away because response was so great.

Of course, there are everybody's favorites, the food vendors.


The smells of Teeny Weeny Doughnuts, Indian flatbread, and Johnny-on-a-Bun from B&B are just a few that will be wafting on the air this weekend.

When it comes to this year’s exhibit entries, the potted flower arrangements receive the largest prize at $50, while agriculture/horticulture and poultry have some of the most entries.

Scrapbook pages, homemade cards and photography have enjoyed some of the largest growth of participation in recent years.

Mark Quiram has been judging the photography off and on for 15 years.

Quiram has been owner/operator of Mark’s Photography (formerly Marque Photography) in Esko for 30 years. He said he saw the number of entries peak a few years ago with about 600 photos entered.

He said he spent about 10 hours judging the photographs and then finished off the day with some final paperwork.

“I look for impact and technical qualities...something that is unique and thought out,” said Quiram.

His voice was reverent as he recalled a favorite photo from several years ago, an open tool box full of tools.  

“The lighting was beautiful, the composition thought out,” said Quiram.

Come enjoy some food, pet the animals, take in a show and admire the projects the participants have spent time, sometimes months, creating.

The gates open at 11 a.m. Thursday. The gate fee is $7, with children under 12 at $3 and ages 5 and under free.

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