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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 and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At The Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330