Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.
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To say the opening day of the Kandiyohi County Fair was a hot one would be an understatement. As temperatures crept toward 90 degrees and humidity clung to the air like a blanket, some people at the fairgrounds may have entertained serious thoughts of diving straight into the nearby lake. The animals, however, seemed to fare better, according to their owners. In extreme heat and humidity, livestock owners have to be more careful of how often they wash, feed and water their animals. All afternoon, owners were going out of their way to make sure the livestock were comfortable.
When Alissa Stai, 19, creates 4-H projects to show at the county fair, she doesn't settle for ordinary. That would be too boring. Instead, she thinks big. Really big. So big that for one of her projects this year, she decided to build her own, one-of-a-kind tractor. "This is something that I did that I take pride in," said Stai, of New London. "I don't think too many people could build a tractor." She didn't start from scratch, of course, but it took a bit of work to find the right parts and put them together, she said.
WILLMAR -- There's no experience quite like the county fair: the smell of barn animals, the folksy sounds of country music and the sight of children eating anything - and everything - that comes deep-fried and on a stick. Beginning tomorrow, hundreds of entries ranging from baked goods to county livestock will be judged before the Kandiyohi County Fair officially opens its gates Wednesday afternoon. New events and exhibits taking place at the fair this year include mechanical bull riding on Wednesday and Thursday; an All-American cake bakeoff entry exhibit; a token hunt by the West Central T
WILLMAR -- Standing on the edge of a diving board, cautiously glancing down into the deep unknown of a swimming pool, can be a scary experience for any child -- and maybe even some adults. But Michael Shimek, 9, isn't scared of the diving board.
Imagine a room filled with deep mahogany furniture. An old rocking chair sits off to the side, an antique grandfather clock tucked away in the corner. The floor is smooth, white marble, and vintage candle chandeliers hang from the ceilings. In the center of it all is an ornate, wood-paneled grand staircase that commands the room's full attention. Imagine -- then see this room for yourself at The Barn Theatre's newest production, "Leading Ladies." The play, directed by Tom Orth, opens Wednesday and runs Aug. 4-7 and Aug. 10-13.
WILLMAR -- In the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning, long after most Willmar residents have gone to sleep, hundreds of determined, caffeinated people will still be awake and working to raise money for cancer research. The Kandiyohi County Relay For Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at 6 a.m. Saturday.
By Ashley White firstname.lastname@example.org wo Willmar High School graduates have broken into the biz. Show business, that is. For two months last year, Ashley Foster, class of 1999, and Chris Axelson, class of 2005, worked on TLC's summer reality show "Mall Cops: Mall of America." The show featured Foster in her job as mall security's special operations supervisor, and Axelson worked on the crew as a field production coordinator. "I've always had an interest in photography and filmography," said Axelson, who now lives in Duluth.
By Ashley White email@example.com Minnesota native and singer/songwriter John Elliott won't say he's made it big -- yet. But with five albums, an international following and featured spots on Prime Time television shows like "Grey's Anatomy," most people would say he already has. This Friday, Willmar area residents can catch Elliott perform live at 7 p.m. at Whitney Music on North Business 71 in Willmar. He'll present an acoustic concert with his guitar and a piano, and the audience can even expect a sing-along at some point.
WILLMAR -- For one Korean War veteran, his 82nd birthday might just be the best one yet. Lloyd Tollefson will be celebrating his birthday today by traveling to Minneapolis with 65 other veterans to watch the Twins take on the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. His two daughters, Sharon Tollefson and Kathy Thonbold, paid for him and a friend to go on the trip, sponsored by the Kandiyohi County Veterans Service Office. "It was a real surprise and a real pleasure," Lloyd Tollefson said of his daughters' birthday gift.
WILLMAR -- The 29th annual Sonshine Festival finished as planned Saturday evening after a potential storm threatened to cancel the festival's closing performances. At around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff's Reserve patrolling the grounds advised all festival campers to take down their tents because of a possible storm with high winds and hail expected. Security had been preparing for a storm all afternoon, according to Sgt. Julie Asmus of the Willmar Police Department. At 6:40 p.m., festival-goers were sent to their cars, the high school or the Civic Center to wait out the storm.