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Looking back at the first GooseFest...

A full-page ad in the Oct. 18, 1989 edition of The Kenmare News proclaimed the week of Oct. 23-28 Kenmare’s First Annual GooseFest.

10/23/18 (Tue)

A full-page ad in the Oct. 18, 1989 edition of The Kenmare News proclaimed the week of Oct. 23-28 Kenmare’s First Annual GooseFest.

A myriad of fun and games were planned through the week including  big bird hunting contests with $5 raffle ticket making you eligible for $4,000 in prizes, Vaudville Revisited, and ethnic food fair and an arts and crafts show.

Notable people expected to be in attendance were Bud Grant, former Minnesota Vikings head coach, Bill Mitzel, a Dakota Country magazine writer, Russ Smith, the former sportscaster at KXMC-TV in Minot and Tony Dean, also a Dakota Country writer.

The festival week began on Monday, Oct. 23 with a wild game feed and actually concluded on Sunday, Oct. 29 with a St. Agnes Bazaar and a Polka Mass at Kenmare High School.

Other scheduled activities followed:

• Tuesday, Oct. 24; Ducks Unlimited presentation, Chili Feed at City Limits and Vaudville Revisited.

• Wednesday, Oct. 25; pinochle, whist and bridge tournament and a wildlife slide presentation.

• Thursday, Oct. 26; free feed at Beer Bob’s and Bud Grant taking part in the hunt.

• Friday, Oct. 27; grand opening of Burke-Divide Electric’s new facility in Kenmare, Peggy Anderson, Burke County Extension presents Christmas gift giving ideas, goose cocktails, Wayne’s Bar free feed and dance at 52 North.

• Saturday, Oct. 28; arts and crafts festival, ethnic food fair, buffet-style GooseFest banquet, awards presentations, Goose-ettes singing group performing, goose calling contest among state and local dignitaries, dance at 52 North and dance at Lakeshore Steakhouse and Bar.

As the week progressed, reminders were published about all the activities going on around the community.

Bud Grant arrives and gets right to the hunting

One entry stated that Bud Grant arrived before dawn on Tuesday and immediately set out to hunt. Grant was expected to be in Kenmare throughout the week and Association of Commerce personnel were setting up a time and place for fans to meet Grant and get autographs.

Tony Kautt of Parshall was placed into history when he became the first person to bag a goose at GooseFest. Kautt got a 13-pound, 10-ounce Canada goose which was the first one to be officially weighed.

Mike Zimmer, Kenmare, also weighed in a big Canada goose at 14.05 pounds.

As the GooseFest ended, Glen Froseth, who had sold The Kenmare News to his son Terry just one year earlier in 1988, wrote a front-page article about the festival.

“The first annual Kenmare GooseFest has to be considered a tremendous success as the week-long schedule of activities and hunting contests ended.

Froseth said Monday greeted hunters with unusually mild weather with the temperature peaking at 80 degrees. By Wednesday and Thursday, however, there were ideal hunting conditions. During that week, approximately 250,000 geese were on the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge.

Grant, and his hunting partner, Minnesota state senator Bob Lassard of International Falls, bagged a dozen geese and filled their pheasant limit. Grant signed autographs at State Bank & Trust of Kenmare Thursday and upon leaving on Friday, assured the community he would return.

Approximately 175 people were entered in the big bird contests with winners from Lignite, Upham and Kenmare.

Froseth concluded his article by stating, “Almost all comments about the first annual GooseFest were positive and every indication is that the community should again sponsor such an event next fall.

The GooseFest became a reality with an idea from Archie Kress, that we should capitalize on one of the area’s most abundant resources. Kress was chairman of this year’s GooseFest and admitted that he made a few mistakes but that overall the GooseFest went well.”

After the GooseFest was over, it wasn’t really over. The Association of  Commerce went on record thanking everyone who worked so hard to make GooseFest a success.

They thanked individuals who donated their time and facilities to enable the schedule to happen, as well as the farmers and landowners for their cooperation and assistance to hunters.

“Without the support of the entire community, the GooseFest could not have happened,” said Terry Froseth of the Association of Commerce.

The real kicker came more than a week after the conclusion of the GooseFest. It was a letter from North Dakota Tourism director Jim Fuglie who praised Kenmare for creating its new festival.

Fuglie, who attended GooseFest for two days, said he would be back in 1990.

“We all need to realize that people aren’t standing in line to come to North Dakota or Kenmare,” Fuglie said. “They need to be courted and events such as yours constitute the best of the courting process.”

Fuglie said he felt welcome in Kenmare and encouraged the Association of Commerce to continue the event in 1990 and perhaps expand it to two weeks... 

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