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Great Smoke-Out part of Ellsworth Family Fun Days

ELLSWORTH — Several new events, including a Great Smoke-Out competition, highlight Ellsworth’s Family Fun Days celebration this Friday through Sunday.

Thirteen, two-person teams have registered for the Great Smoke-Out contest, which has participants smoking five racks of pork ribs each and a combined 100 pounds of pork loin, according to event organizer Randy Buntjer.

While most of the teams are local — from Ellsworth to Magnolia — Buntjer said one competitor is coming from Spencer, Iowa, and another is a professional smoker from Little Rock, Iowa.

The teams will begin smoking their meats at 9 a.m. Saturday, with serving to the public from 5 to 6:15 p.m. Saturday under the tent adjacent to Billy’s Bar & Grill. Judging will be done at 4:30 p.m., with a trio of local judges — Brian Chapa, owner of the Ellsworth Locker, Tasha Domeyer, Ellsworth’s mayor, and Mark Iveland, branch manager of the Exchange State Bank in Ellsworth — selecting the winners.

Judges will rank the entries based on tenderness, taste and appearance.

“We’re hoping it becomes an annual event,” said Buntjer, adding that the Great Smoke-Out is sponsored by the Exchange State Bank of Ellsworth.

“It’s not a sanctioned thing — it’s just a backyard barbecue competition,” Buntjer said, adding that everyone is invited to Ellsworth to enjoy some ribs and pork loin and stay for the Family Fun Days parade at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the Great Smoke-Out, other new events this year include a Craft Fair, with 18 vendors anticipated, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Ellsworth City Park, near West Butler Avenue and North Walnut Street; and a kickball tournament for all ages from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the softball diamond.

Buntjer said more six- to eight-person teams are sought for the tournament. Teams must consist of half girls-half guys, or all girls. To register a team, contact Buntjer at 360-2650 by noon Thursday.

McDermott Carnival will be in town all three days, with advanced ticket sales continuing until 4 p.m. Friday at the Exchange State Bank of Ellsworth, the Ellsworth Food Center or the Ellsworth Locker.

A complete schedule of events for Family Fun Days follows:


6 p.m.: Little Miss Ellsworth selection, Main Street

6:30 p.m.: Kids Pedal Pull, for children ages 4-11, Main Street

7:30 p.m.: Family Fun Run/Walk, begins behind Exchange State Bank

9:30 p.m.: One Man Band, Billy’s Bar & Grill


9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Craft Fair, Ellsworth City Park

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Kick Ball Tournament, Softball Diamond

3 p.m.: Bean Bag Tournament, Billy’s Bar & Grill

4 p.m.: Legion Bingo, under the tent near Billy’s Bar & Grill

5-6:30 p.m.: Great Smoke-Out, under the tent near Billy’s Bar & Grill

6:30 p.m.: Parade

8 p.m.: Cow Pie Bingo, Main Street

9 p.m.: Pirate Taxi Band, Billy’s Bar & Grill


9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Firemen’s Pancake Breakfast, Ellsworth Fire Hall

10:30 a.m.: Community Worship Service, Ellsworth School Gym

Noon: Big ticket drawing, Ellsworth Fire Hall

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330