Rural Leadership North Dakota


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Maddock Rural Renaissance Festival

by Debbie Tracy

Debbie TracyWhen I began thinking about a project for RLND, there were several things I wanted to accomplish for my community. First I wanted to do something that would highlight and draw attention to our town as a great place to work, live, and raise a family. Second, I wanted to do something that would boost up our Economy and third I wanted to do a project that would involve the entire community, its residents, businesses, clubs and organizations. I feel it is vital to all rural communities to work closely together to move forward and be progressive, while holding on to what they already have. Most rural towns are like living amongst family and we are working hard to convey that to people from other states who may want to move to North Dakota.

I realized a Fall Festival would satisfy all of my wishes for the community and its prosperity. It was important for me that our community and other rural communities who visited to see Maddock as a FUN place to live.

When I started the project I chose ten people to be on a steering committee. These people were chosen from different professions and affiliations. Some of them I had never worked with before on a project, but that was one of my goals, to bring a diverse group of people together to do a project. Part of the mission was to get as many people involved as possible. We first brainstormed on what we would call the festival. After lengthy discussion we decided on Rural Renaissance Festival because Renaissance means rebirth and renewal and that is what we wanted for the town. Committees’ were formed to deal with all aspects of organizing this event, from finances to promotion to fundraising. Each group of three was given a task and they are in charge of encouraging other people to help them. We are now a very large group working towards the same goal and doing it together as a team.

The Rural renaissance Festival will start on Friday evening with the opening of the five acre corn maze. Local farmers and seed companies combined knowledge and creative skills to produce a work of art for all to enjoy.  All the seed and land was donated for this part of the event.  The maze will be open daily and will feature HAUNTED evenings after dark on Friday and Saturday. A bonfire will begin after the football game and a chili cook off will be sponsored by area fire departments. Local food vendors will also be selling their specialties.

Saturday will be a busy day starting with a breakfast at the community Center served by a local organization. There will be a Farmers Market for people to sell their baked and canned goods along with any other produce that is available. The Benson County Events Center will have local crafters and vendors from around the state selling their goods.  There will be hays rides, a petting zoo, a 5k run, a Lefse making demonstration and other classes throughout the day.  The Memorial Home will be the place for a best recipe contest in several categories. Prizes will be given for best decorated and carved pumpkins. Kids will have fun participating in a cutest pet contest. Saturday will conclude with the hugely popular Johnny Holms Band.

 It is so awesome to see so many people working so hard for the good of this community. It makes you step back and realize how lucky you really are to living in such a warm and embracing state. This project addresses all the areas that are important for economic development, progress, prosperity, local pride and a cooperative spirit. We will continue with new volunteers and an energized youth using their leadership skills to rally their community into a productive and dynamic future.

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