North Dakota has come a long way since it was first settled. Where there were once smaller structures and tightly-knit communities, there are now stone and steel buildings, busy roads, and a large capital city. But just outside of Bismarck’s main area, there’s a whole town that seems to have been plucked right out of the past. This is Buckstop Junction — a museum dedicated to helping older members of the community remember the past, and newer members learn more about it.

Despite how old the town seems from its antiques and wooden buildings, it’s actually fairly recent — the entire complex is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, they hosted a Hootenanny (an old-fashioned term for a party or festival) with a major focus on corn, the vegetable that the museum was built on.

During the hootenanny, guests to Buckstop Junction were able to enjoy everything that the historic buildings had to offer. Self-guided tours through multiple parts of the grounds — including the old lumberyard, general store, plane hangar, and old-school homes — allowed visitors to see many of the tools and methods used by the people who previously made their homes in North Dakota in earlier times. There were also plenty of activities for modern-day visitors, too, such as inflatables and balloon animals.

Of course, it’d be wrong to have a corn festival without offering a sample of the goods. And the festival delivered this in spades, too, offering fresh-grilled corn in addition to fry bread, grilled burgers and hot dogs, sasparilla, and local vendors selling beef jerky, popcorn balls, wraps, and other delights were present. Those looking for souvenirs could stop by the antique and vintage gift shop, where a silent auction was held.

Live displays were also present, including a tractor parade and a full demonstration of the Bismarck Police Department’s K9 unit. During this show, one of the department’s canine officers displayed the process of attacking and tracking an individual. Don’t worry: the officer playing the target was wearing a heavy bite suit.

The Junction was extremely happy to celebrate its anniversary and looks forward to many more years helping remind the community of olden times– hopefully, with extra kernels of entertainment to go along with the experience.


“It’s important to me because I believe in the value of preserving things,” said Vonnie Ereth, a Board Member with the Missouri Valley Historical Society, “so you can actually have a visual idea of what it was instead of just looking at a picture and talking about it. And it’s always a pleasure to visit with the older people who have been raised around the buildings.”

For more information about the museum, visit Buckstop Junction’s website.