Bakken Rocks CookFest to celebrate 10 years next week

Submitted Photo Children enjoy a past Bakken Rocks CookFest held in Alexander. The CookFest is an event of the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Energy of North Dakota community outreach program.

The Bakken Rocks CookFest will celebrate its 10th anniversary when it takes its festivities to Grenora on July 17 and Twin Buttes on July 19.

Held twice each summer in two communities impacted by development, the Bakken Rocks CookFest offers residents the opportunity to get out and learn more about the oil and gas industry, meet some of its players, attend an information session where they can listen to and visit with the experts of the industry, and best of all, eat some of the best barbecue available in western North Dakota.

The CookFest has been the hallmark event of the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Energy of North Dakota community outreach program, which was founded in 2008 to develop better relationships with communities and stakeholders. Since then, the event has hosted more than 20,000 people in 18 different communities throughout western North Dakota.

“This event remains a favorite among our companies and a favorite among the communities in the west,” said Tessa Sandstrom, communications director for the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “The energy industry remains a stronghold for our state and especially western North Dakota. We’re excited each year to get out, get to know community leaders who help us organize the event and celebrate the progress we’ve experienced through this fun, family-friendly event.”

Sixteen companies are registered to participate in the Grenora CookFest, while Twin Buttes is slated to host 23 companies. Representatives from companies and organizations will also be on hand to help answer questions on pipelines, royalties, careers, drilling and production and more. There will also be games and activities for kids, a bounce house and target shooting station hosted by Mule Deer Foundation for kids, so families are encouraged to attend. All activities are free and open to the public.

Submitted Photo Bakken Rocks CookFests will be held in Grenora and Twin Buttes next week. This photo shows a past CookFest held in Parshall.

The event typically draws between 800 and 1,200 people to each venue each year from surrounding communities and counties, said Sandstrom, with many making a long drive to attend at least one of the events.

“We get requests from communities years in advance to host CookFest in their towns because it’s such a fun event,” said Sandstrom. “We encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the industry or wants to visit with some of the companies operating in their towns – or who simply wants some great food – to visit us in Grenora and Twin Buttes this year.”

The CookFest has been held in Belden and Killdeer (2009); Tioga and New Town (2010); Crosby and Watford City (2011); Ray and Belfield (2012); Powers Lake and Parshall (2013); Kenmare and Dunn Center (2014); Alexander and South Heart (2015); Mandaree and Stanley (2016); and Westhope and Medora (2017).

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