The annual Bismarck Fall Festival is returning from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bismarck School campus and will feature a range of activities and events to help Parkland residents welcome in the fall season.
As was true with the city's Fourth of July Freedom Fest, the fall festival is being sponsored this year by the Bismarck Fire Department.
"We've got a lot going on this year, with live entertainment featuring Triple X Lite going on Saturday afternoon," said firefighter Keith Colwell, who along with his wife, Sally, is coordinating the event for the department. "Dale Hampton is going to perform for a couple of hours before them and then he's also going to play with them.
"The fire department is having a barbecue out there all day with pork steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs. There will be funnel cakes and ribbon fries. Jerry Freeman is going to have his trailer out there doing that kind of stuff. We're going to have a petting zoo with a camel and quite a few vendors.
"There's also going to be a hayride and the Bismarck Junior Class is going to have a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament and 50/50 Chili Cook-Off where the winner will get half of all the entry fees."
That evening the Integrity Leadership Committee is going to have the "Bismarck Haunted School" from 5 to 7 p.m. with an admission charge of $3.
Asked why the fire department was hosting the fall festival, Colwell said, "It's just another fundraiser and a way to bring the community together again."
But then, Colwell offered up a little bit of trivia about the fall festival's start.
"Years ago Sally and I actually started the fall festival in Bismarck as a fundraiser for our son John's class," he said. "We did it for several years and then the chamber took it over. For a while I was on the chamber when they did it and then they ran out of funds and couldn't do it anymore. So, now the fire department is keeping it going."
And now the couple's son is the Bismarck Fire Department's fire chief.
"We did the fall festival back when John was in elementary and now we're doing it again when he's fire chief," Colwell said laughing. "We want everybody to come out and have fun this Saturday. The weather is supposed to be nice and I think everybody is going to have a great time."