Bertie Forsmann is 2021 Grand Marshal
By Lorie Palmer
Idaho County Free Press
A familiar face around the fair, and Cottonwood in general, will serve as the 2021 Idaho County Fair grand marshal.
“I’m not exactly sure what a grand marshal does, but I’m honored,” smiled Bertie Forsmann.
Bertie Kinzer grew up in the Westlake area, near Craigmont, and graduated from Highland High School.
“I grew up on a ranch and loved horses,” she said. The youngest of six, she admits she was “just a little bit spoiled.”
She attended a semester of college in Lewiston, then, through mutual friends, met Ken Forsmann, the oldest of five siblings.
“I always dreamed of marrying a cowboy — and I did!” she laughed.
Ken  worked with his father, Cleo, then his brother, Tim, at Forsmann Accounting. He’s also a rancher, so Bertie definitely did get her cowboy.
The couple has been married 48 years and raised their four children in Cottonwood, where they have been involved in their activities throughout the years.
Bertie spent 30 years as a cook at Prairie High School.
“I love that age of kids,” she said. “You can tease them, and they give it right back.”
She also spent a decade managing the basketball and volleyball concessions at Prairie.
“I enjoyed adding different things — I didn’t want just popcorn and candy,” she said. “It was nice for people to be able to get hamburgers and hot dogs and other food.”
The Forsmann’s children include Scott, who was in the Air Force for 20 years and is now a project manager at Advanced Welding and Steel; Brandy McElroy, who previously spent time in San Diego, “but now she’s our boss — she recently purchased Forsmann Accounting,” Bertie smiled; Adam is manager at Advanced Welding; and Lisa Forsmann keeps the books at Advanced.
“And we have eight grandkids, plus some bonuses,” she said.
Those grandkids — only one girl in the bunch — keep the Forsmanns busy attending 4-H, sporting and school events.
For the past 14 years, Bertie has managed the Idaho County 4-H food booth at the fair.
“I love meeting all the people and 4-H groups and leaders and their parents,” she said.
She makes sure the booth remains stocked with all the food and beverage mainstays and supplies, and sees to it that each shift is covered with a proper adult to kid ratio: 4-H groups are drawn out of a hat for shifts (four per day) and receive $100 for their respective clubs.
The food booth is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of the fair (as well as for spring show day in June).
Hamburgers and hot dogs are staples, as well as homemade pies brought in by the 4-H clubs and sold by the slice. Bertie has added biscuits and gravy, sausages for breakfast, as well as maple bars. Chips, coffee, soda pop, hot chocolate, water and iced tea are also sold. All proceeds go back into the 4-H program.
“Friday night is the busiest night of the fair,” Bertie said. Adding the booth sells about 1,600 hamburger patties alone during fair week. She has also implemented one morning of pancake breakfast, which has proved to be popular.
COVID-19 added a layer of safety to the fair with requirements of masks, gloves and individual condiment packets.
“It just made us more aware, but I have always emphasized cleanliness and sanitation,” she said.
When they aren’t working or checking cows, the Forsmanns enjoy playing cards and other games, spending time with their family and going to their Kooskia-area cabin.
Look for Ken to be at the fair during the Saturday noon Cattlemen’s barbecue, as one of the grill masters, and look for Bertie at the 4-H food booth and all around.
“My birthday is always during the fair [the 17th], so I try to make it a fun time, no matter what I’m doing,” she laughed. “You gotta keep having fun.”

The 2021 Idaho County Fair Grand Marshal is Bertie Forsmann. She is shown where you quite often find her at the Fair, in the 4-H Food Booth. Photo by Lorie Palmer, ICFP.




Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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