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Good eats, sweet treats

Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA member Marissa Pham reaches into a pickle jar Wednesday afternoon during the opening day of the Osceola County Fair in Sibley, Iowa. In the background, other FFA members work near the new food stand addition, which houses an expanded kitchen area. Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe

SIBLEY, Iowa — Under sunny skies and cool breezes, children were busy putting golf balls through a mini-golf course as 4-H’ers paraded around with friendly canines in preparation for an afternoon dog show Wednesday during the first day of the Osceola County Fair in Sibley.

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Meanwhile, in the FFA food stand, members were serving up burgers, scooping out ice cream for pie ala mode and filling up glasses of iced tea for customers in their newly expanded digs.

Last-minute work on the food stand expansion — to include a new kitchen and restroom facilities, complete with showers — wrapped up just hours before Little Miss Osceola County and the 2014 Fair Queen contest were set to take the stage.

The FFA food stand expansion had been several years in the planning, according to Osceola County Fair Board member and FFA Advisor Brian Gottlob.

“We had standing-room-only,” said Gottlob of previous years inside the lunch stand during county fair. “We needed a bigger kitchen, and we added more seating.”

Fourteen booths from the former Sibley Cafe were brought in to surround the interior perimeter of the food stand, with a long, U-shaped counter also used for seating. The approximately 30- by 25-foot expansion, completed at the rear of the existing building, provides more open space for the grill, fryers and food preparation.

Gottlob said the expansion project began in mid-May, with several FFA members, the nine fair board members and others volunteering their time to help with the work. Numerous businesses stepped up as well with donations of labor.

“It’s a nice addition,” said Osceola County Fair Board Vice President Jerry Helmers.

The addition of new restrooms and showers also makes the facility available for use year-round, said Steve Voss, fair board president, adding that they hope to bring other events and livestock shows to the fairgrounds in the near future.

Businesses that worked on the project included Sibley Sheet Metal, Ed’s Electric, Bosma Water, Alpha Omega Spray Insulation, CW Bents Trenching, Pete Claussen Excavating, HHD Construction and Northwest Iowa Ready-Mix.

The total cost of materials for the expansion project was approximately $50,000, with much of the funds raised through donations. The fair board is also conducting a raffle to help cover the remaining expenses.

Tickets for the raffle are being sold in the fair board office on the fairgrounds. Supporters will have a chance at winning a $500 gift card to Noteboom Implement, a $500 gas card to Co-op Energy of Sibley or a Jim Bowie Pellet Grill. Raffle winners will be announced during the NTPA National Tractor Pull Saturday evening in the grandstand.

Grandstand entertainment this evening includes a Shawn Mayer concert at 6:30 p.m., followed by Figure 8 races, the demolition derby and fireworks. Friday night’s grandstand show will be the Tuff Nuff Miniature Rodeo. Numerous other events, from 4-H livestock shows to a barbecue cook-off are scheduled throughout the fair.

“Just come to the fair,” encouraged Voss.

“It’s one of the best fairs we’ve had,” added Helmers. “There are a lot of events going on.”

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

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