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Medora Musical has 2nd best attendance year; Pitchfork Steak Fondue sets record
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Medora Musical has 2nd best attendance year; Pitchfork Steak Fondue sets record

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The Burning Hills Singers are joined by Coal Diggers Band member Willow Osborne and her banjo during a July clogging act performance in the 56th annual Medora Musical. Osborne also performed a banjo solo during the show.

The long-running Medora Musical this year had its second-best season for attendance, coming up just a few dozen attendees short of the record.

The show's 56th season ended Saturday, and drew 123,992 people, according to Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer Justin Fisk. That's only 82 people shy of the total in 2015, the musical's 50th anniversary season and record year.

"But we’re so happy with the season, grateful for the guests, and excited to keep things going this fall in a way we haven’t done before," Fisk said, noting a new Johnny Cash-themed show and plans to keep Theodore's Dining Room open all winter at the Rough Riders Hotel in Medora.

The musical did have a highest-ever nightly average attendance of 1,348, due to fewer show dates amid the high attendance. The musical had as many shows as in 2015, but a different schedule that included 20 two-show dates.

The neighboring Pitchfork Steak Fondue set a record with 50,383 attendees. The 50,000th visitor was given a commemorative pitchfork.

The musical's season began in June, a couple of months after a wildfire threatened the Burning Hills Amphitheatre and led to the temporary evacuation of Medora. The venue sustained no major damage.

The foundation this fall will begin construction on a dual, high-capacity elevator at the amphitheatre to improve accessibility. The $1.4 million project is expected to finish in spring 2022.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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