Youth Fair opens Feb. 4
Thousands are expected to attend the various Youth Fair shows and the PRCA Rodeo at the Bell County Expo Center.
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 26, 2022
Mother Earth News workshops and demonstrations will return to Bell County for a 2-day event.
Barrow Brewing Company to host Northbound & Down Music Festival.
Reminder: Father/Daughter Dance tickets are going fast.
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Local kids are shearing, grooming and polishing their boots in preparation for the 2022 Bell County Youth Fair, which is Feb. 4-12 at The Expo.
Bell County Youth Fair to feature 1,007 kids with 4,830 exhibits
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
It’s all about the kids — and the animals, artwork and pies.
The Bell County Youth Fair opens its 2022 run with a horse show on Feb. 4 at the Bell County Expo Center, and fair officials expect a return to pre-COVID participation.
“We will have 1,007 kids taking part in the Youth Fair this year, and they will be showing 4,830 exhibits,” said Cheri O’Braden, Youth Fair coordinator for Bell County AgriLife. “The exhibits include everything from sheep, cattle and chickens to baked goods, art and photographs. And, everything in between.”
One of the many highlights of the Youth Fair is the annual auction, and this year’s sale will be Feb. 12.
“The money goes straight back to the kids,” O’Braden said. “Last year, the auction raised about $800,000 for the youth of Bell County. We welcome new buyers — just sign up the night of the auction.”
John Dungan, assistant director of The Expo, said the Youth Fair is among the center’s most popular events.
“Last year we had a lot of restrictions in place so the crowd was smaller than usual,” he said. “But, in 2020 — before COVID hit — we had right at 35,000 throughout the week. We should be back around that number again this year.”
In addition to the youth fair, the PRCA Rodeo will make its 34th appearance at The Expo. This year’s rodeo will be held Feb. 11 and 12.
The rodeo features cowboys and cowgirls from the PRCA and WPRA circuits and will include the crowd-pleasing Mutton Busting. Also back this year is award-winning rodeo clown Gizmo McCracken.
Despite a recent surge in the COVID-19 pandemic because of the Omnicron variant, O’Braden said the show will go on with no restrictions.
“As of today, we expect everything to be fully open to visitors and participants,” she said. “There are no restrictions at this point.”
The Youth Fair officially begins Friday, Feb. 4 with the Horse Judging Contest. Check-in is at 3 p.m. and the contest follows at 4.
The Bell County Youth Fair is one of the prime reasons The Expo was built back in 1987. The Youth Fair had outgrown its previous venue — the aging Sheriff’s Posse Arena just south of Temple High School.
Last year, the Bell County Youth Fair awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships to local youth.
A highlight of Fair Week is the PRCA Rodeo, which will be held Feb. 11 and 12 at the Bell County Expo Center.
The Mother Earth News Fair — Feb. 19 and 20 at the Bell County Expo Center — will include workshops on backyard livestock, brewing beer at home, gardening and more.
Mother Earth News workshops return to Bell County for 2-day event
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Many Texans love living the “simple life,” whether it’s raising chickens, tending a garden or using herbs to stay healthy.
That’s why Mother Earth News Magazine is bringing its flagship event back to Bell County for the sixth year.
“We’re thrilled to come back to the Bell County Expo Center because Temple and Belton have such a thirst for advice and information, whether it’s building a chicken coop, brewing beer at home or growing vegetables,” said Andrew Perkins, event director.
The Mother Earth News Fair is the nation’s largest and longest-running sustainable lifestyle events, and the Texas edition is set for Feb. 19 and 20 at The Expo. The Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and will shut down an hour earlier on Sunday.
“Fairgoers can attend more than 100 workshops,” Perkins said. “These include food preparation and preservation, small-scale and backyard livestock production, organic gardening, natural health, renewable energy, homesteading and other self-sufficiency-related topics.”
“Local and national experts will lead the sessions,” he said.
In addition, the Fair will host children’s activities, heritage-breed livestock, country skills, vendor demonstrations, a 6,000 square-foot book store and hundreds of exhibitors.
R.D. Copeland, a North Texas organic farmer and rancher, is one of many exhibitors who regularly participates in the Bell County event. In 2019, R.D. put on chicken demonstrations that were very popular with young fairgoers.
“Did you know that kids love chickens?” Copeland asked although he knew the answer. “I can vouch for maybe 20,000 of them who loved the hens I brought for the demo. Little buggers can’t resist a friendly, free-range chicken. Who can?”
Those wanting to attend this year’s Mother Earth News Fair can pre-order either a weekend ticket or a single-day ticket for $10. Wristbands purchased at the gate will cost $30 and $25 respectively. Children 17 and under get in free. For advance tickets, click: Mother Earth Fair.
A wood carver shows his skills at a previous Mother Earth News Fair held at the Expo Center in Belton.
Canadian rock band The Yawners perform during the 2019 festival at Barrow Brewing Company in Salado. The festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID concerns, but its back in full force this year. Jason Deckman photo
3-day music festival returns to Salado
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Get ready for some cold beer and hot music.
The third Northbound & Down Music Festival will take place March 11-13 at Barrow Brewing Company in Salado, and the musical lineup includes talent from around the state and as far away as Canada.
“This was going to be an annual event, but thanks to COVID we weren’t able to hold the festival in 2020 or 2021,” said KD Hill, co-owner of Barrow Brewing. “We’re back this year and we have a great group of performers.”
Northbound & Down was inspired by Alissa McClure, founder and director of the Salado Montessori.
“Alissa had a lot of contacts in the music world, including some Canadian contacts,” K.D. said today. “Since a lot of International bands are in Texas this time of the year for SXSW in Austin, we decided to see if some would be interested in driving north to Salado.”
The festival serves as a fundraiser for Salado Montessori.
The weekend event starts on Friday with two free performances, and there is a charge for Saturday and Sunday shows.
“Northbound & Down is one of three events we have every year where we fence off the grounds and control access,” KD said.
Several packages are available for the festival.
“Advance tickets range from $7 to $120 depending on the package,” she said. “Tickets sold at the gate will be higher.”
Tickets are available by clicking Northbound & Down.
One of the VIP packages includes a unique art experience on Friday night, Saturday breakfast at the historic Stagecoach Inn and two days of live music. VIP packages also include three drinks from the brewery.
“VIP guests have their choice between three art experiences,” KD said. “They can go to a painting party at Sirril Art Gallery, they can make a bird’s nest ring at Benton’s Jewelry or they can blow their own beer mug at Salado Glassworks. If they choose to make a beer mug, they can use it at the festival the rest of the weekend.”
“All three of these art studios are close to Barrow Brewing,” she said.
The music starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday with Central Texas singer/songwriter Josh Labove, then the popular Lilly & The Implements will take the stage. This band frequently plays at venues around the area, including at O’Briens Irish Pub in Temple.
The music starts at noon Saturday with The Naggins, an Irish ska band from San Antonio. Waco-based rockers MadStone play at 1:30 p.m.
Also Saturday afternoon are Shimmer Island, a folktronica band out of Austin, and Nik Parr & The Selfless Lovers, a high-energy piano rock band, also from Austin.
On stage Saturday night will be Denver Williams, an Americana musical from the Dallas area, and JayWood, an indie-alternative band from Canada.
Sunday’s entertainment begins at 1 p.m. with Caftan, a band that performs on occasion in Belton and Temple. Caftan plays folk rock and psychedelia music.
At 2:30, The Lost Project ska band from San Antonio take the stage, followed by Austin-based pop artist Jessie Torrisi and RiSi. Living Hour, a Canadian band who describes its music as psychedelic dream pop, plays at 6 p.m.
“Living Hour played our first two festivals, and I’m thrilled they are coming back,” KD said. “They will be flying in the day of the show.”
In addition to music, art and food vendors will be on the Barrow grounds.
“Laced & Found will be here creating a portable mural to display in front of the brewery,” she said. “They’ve done some work at Trenos Pizzeria in Downtown Temple.”
KD encourages folks to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the festival.
“We have plenty of seating, but because of the pandemic people like to spread out,” KD said. “We have plenty of space.”
In case of rainy or very cold weather, the festival will move about 18 miles north to Temple’s Cultural Activities Center.
Ben Duewall, Clint Haverland and Amy Lamb, all Barrows employees, pause from work duties during the 2019 Northbound & Down Music Festival. Jason Deckman photo
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Father/Daughter Dance filling up fast
Our Town Temple
Just a reminder that tickets to the always popular Father/Daughter Dance are going fast.
The dance will be held two nights at the Mayborn Center in Temple — Friday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 5, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening.
Tickets may be purchased at www.templeparks.com and tickets will NOT be sold at the door. The $12-per-person tickets include admission to the dance, a special gift bag for the daughter, a photo-booth experience and an opportunity for a professional photo-op.
A second ticket option includes all of the above plus a carriage ride. This package cost $17 per person. The carriage ride will take place at the venue and must be purchased in advance. When you purchase your tickets online, you will select your specific ride time. There will be a limited number of ride spots available, and all riders must have a ticket.
To help you with those extra-special touches, several Temple businesses are offering special packages: Woods Flowers and Precious Memories Florist & Gift Shop both are offering corsage and boutonniere specials. Also, Vida Salon is also offering Father/Daughter beauty packages. Contact these businesses for details.