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By Ed Moreth 

Plains has big plans for annual festival


Ed Moreth

BIG PLANS FOR PLAINS – Erika Lawyer tells the Plains Business Association members the plans for a bigger Plains Days this year.

Members of the Plains Business Association have big plans for Plains Day this year, including making the annual festival a three-day event and including nearly 20 events scattered over the weekend of June 1, 2, and 3.

"I am excited. I think that there's a lot of community partners involved and when that happens good things are bound to happen," said Erika Lawyer, treasurer for the Plains Business Association, the overall sponsor of Plains Days.

This is the first time it's been a three-day event. Alvin Amundson was one of the creators of Donkey Derby Day, which started in 1962 and was the predecessor of Plains Day, and said that at one time in the 1980s or 1990s, the festival took place on part of Friday and all day Saturday, but never on Sunday. The 89-year-old Amundson said the festival was started by the Plains businesses to show their appreciation to the community.

Many of the events for the festival are the traditional ones, such as the Ice Cream Social and Turtle Races, both sponsored by Rock Mountain Bank, the Car Show, sponsored by Rehbein Ford, and the parade, though it will begin at 10 a.m. and start at the east end of Lynch Street and finish at Helterline on the west end, instead of going down Railroad Street. In addition, there will be prizes for the best units in the parade, said Lawyer.

The morning will again begin with the Mason Pancake Breakfast at the VFW starting at 7 a.m. The Mini Mermaids Running Club will sponsor the 5K Fun Run at 8 a.m. However, the starting and finish line this year will be at the sports complex, utilizing the walking trail for the race, said Gena Ferlan, the race coordinator. Kids games along with the greenway will be put on by the Plains Lions Club and the Plains-Paradise Rural Fire District. Duane Highcrane, president of the Lions Club, hopes to get a dunk tank this year, which he believes will be set up from around 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Sanders County Arts Council is taking part in the festivities this year by having a kids' art mural time along the greenway. Several pieces of cardboard panels with preset outline drawings depicting Montana kids will be on hand for the kids to fill in with paint, said Steve Eberhardt, an arts council member. He added that artists will be on hand to help guide the kids. The Sanders County Arts Council will supply all the materials. The finished products will be on display around town, said Eberhardt.

Saturday will finish up at the community pool park with a community potluck dinner, starting at 5 p.m., followed with a dance. The dinner and dance will be sponsored by the Ryan Family of Plains. The South Side Sparks 4-H club will be hosting a dessert auction at the community pool park at 6 p.m.

New this year will be various sporting events at Plains High School and at the Amundson Sports Complex. This year, the Plains Alumni Basketball game, coordinated by Principal Kevin Meredith and Tyrel Allen, will be part of Plains Days, kicking off at 8 p.m. on Friday. There will also be a Plains Flag Football Alumni game at 6 p.m. Friday on the football field.

In addition, the Wild Horse Shootout 3-On-3 Basketball Tournament will be part of Plains Days, taking place at Amundson Sports Complex on Saturday at 11 a.m. Cost is $100 per team. There will also be a basketball dunking contest and a three-point shooting competition at the complex at 2 p.m. the same day. On Sunday, Cory Ovitt will be coordinating co-ed pickup softball games starting at 10 a.m. at the sports complex, followed by co-ed soccer games coordinated by Nick Lawyer at 2 p.m.

The Wild Horse Shootout is in its third year, but it has normally been held in July. Erika Lawyer hopes that doing it as part of Plains Days will bring out-of-town people to the event.

"I think having a three-day event is a good idea. I just think it's a good idea to consolidate all of this and make one big event our town can be proud of," said Lawyer. "Events work like this when lots of groups come together and work together. I think this is going to be the most amazing Plains day weekend ever."


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