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Demolition derby to take center stage at Hatton's 125th

When rain washed out the Grand Forks County Fair Demolition Derby last weekend, motor heads hoping to smash other cars went home disappointed. Well, Grand Forks' pain could be Hatton's gain. The Hatton (N.D.) Men's Club Annual Demolition Derby wi...

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When rain washed out the Grand Forks County Fair Demolition Derby last weekend, motor heads hoping to smash other cars went home disappointed.

Well, Grand Forks' pain could be Hatton's gain.

The Hatton (N.D.) Men's Club Annual Demolition Derby will be the signature event in Hatton's 125th Anniversary Celebration. It begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The derby normally draws about two dozen entries. This year, the number could be 30 or even 35.

"We might get a lot of those vehicles," said Men's Club Member Buck Olson, who also is sales manager at Hatton Ford.

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The Demolition Derby has been the main attraction in Hatton's July 4th celebration for several years. This year, because it's the city's 125th anniversary, organizers are expecting even bigger crowds.

Hatton, located about 35 miles southwest of Grand Forks, has a population of about 750.

The annual parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, could be bigger this year, too. Last year, it attracted 125 units, from bands and floats to antique cars and trucks.

History buffs may want to tour the Hatton-Eielson Museum, which will be open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. An Eielson Museum dinner will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hatton Community Center.

Aviation pioneer Carl Ben Eielson is Hatton's most famous son.

Born in 1897, Eielson learned to fly an airplane during World War I, then returned home and organized North Dakota's first local aviation club in Hatton.

After earning a degree from UND and attending law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he moved to Alaska to teach. He made the first air-mail run in Alaska history, delivering mail between Fairbanks and Nenana, Alaska, and later formed Farthest North Airplane Co.

In 1928, Eielson and business partner and fellow aviator George Wilkins made a flight from Barrow, Alaska, over the Arctic Circle to Spitzbergen, Norway. That actually was longer than aviator Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic Ocean a year earlier.

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He was killed in an airplane crash in 1929 while on a rescue mission of a ship wreck in the Arctic Ocean.

Hatton 125th Celebration

Today

2 p.m. -- These Hands Program, Hatton Prairie Village.

7 p.m. -- 5k walk/run: Start, Hatton Park.

9 p.m. -- Street Dance (21 & over): The Roosters ($8 per person; $15 per couple).

Saturday

10:30 a.m. -- 125th Anniversary Parade.

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11 a.m. -- Petting Zoo, south of Hatton Swimming Pool (hosted by local 4H).

11:15 a.m. -- Burnouts (across from Buck's Place).

11:30 a.m. -- Eielson Museum Dinner, Hatton Community Center.

11:30 a.m. -- Kiddie Tractor Pull (4-11 years old).

1-4 p.m. -- Hatton Eielson Museum Tours.

2 p.m. -- Hatton Men's Club Demolition Derby.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

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