Carnival, vendors make Gallatin Co. Fair preparations


Workers, vendors make Gallatin County Fair preparations

BOZEMAN, Mont. - From carnival rides to funnel cake fryers, organizers and vendors are busy making sure everything is ready to go for the Gallatin County Fair.

Kelvin Simpson ratcheted out a swinging arm on the "Pharoah's Fury" Tuesday afternoon, preparing one of 20 rides at the fair this year.

He tells us it's a time-consuming process to clean, inspect, and assemble the ride, saying, "You've just got to keep working at it. And be very diligent about what you're doing."

North Star Amusements out of Billings operates the fair's carnival. They estimate around 35 employees put in almost 600 manhours over two days just to assemble the rides. Another 30 workers put up games and attractions.

Simpson said, "We're all family here. So if anyone needs any help, we drop whatever we're doing and we go help."

Simpson says it takes a special breed to do that job, explaining, "Everybody thinks that they can be a carnival worker. It's in your blood -- either you can or you can't."

But it's not all fun and games at the fair. Many people come for the food.

"We're going to do somewhere around 600-700 pounds of beef during this five-day show," said Amy Rowan as she was stacking wood for her grill.

Rowan operates Blue Moose BBQ, a mobile restaurant out of Three Forks and one of 13 independent vendors at the fair. She expects to serve big crowds.

"When there's a line you just have to keep going," said Rowan.

Blue Moose BBQ will be at the fair all five days. Rowan says it's good exposure for her business.

"Come Friday and Saturday you basically are serving as fast as you possibly can make it. Not a whole lot of sleep for those two days," Rowan told us.

As the vendors prepare for a line of hungry customers, carnival workers eagerly anticipate the thrillseekers who will be lining up for the rides they operate.

"It's absolutely breathtaking," said Simpson. "I love seeing the kids laugh, smile and scream."

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