The Roundup -

The Berka Family's Venture West Finds Them As One Of The Newest Fixtures At The Richland County Fair


Tyler Berka (left) and her dad Pat Berka (right) selling kettle corn and Italian ice at an out of town event.

Pat and Allison Berka bought the Women of the Moose booth at the Richland County Fairgrounds in 2013, making them and their vending business, Burly's Kettle Corn and Italian Ice, one of the newest fixtures of the fair.

The Berkas began their vending venture six years ago after the economy in Colorado went into a tailspin; Pat Berka, not being one to sit around and wait, began brainstorming with his wife Allison, son Camden, now 17, daughter, now 13, and some family friends. They decided to try selling kettle corn as it is easy to transport and spent one Fourth of July trying different recipes out on willing friends. The family sold their house and began an adventure, moving into their camper heading west, selling kettle corn, and looking for the right place to settle down... and had a lot of fun doing it. The Berkas lived in Hood River, Oregon for two years with vending being their primary source of income until, at the suggestion of a friend, Pat Berka decided to move to Sidney and work in the oil field and his family followed suit in 2011 once they were sure that the MonDak area was the right place for them to be.

Vending is now something fun the Berkas do as a family. During their three and a half month season they sell kettle corn and Italian ice at five to eight events such as Homefest in Watford City, ND, the Fourth of July Celebration in Lambert, MT and, of course, the Richland County Fair.

Before buying the WOM booth, they rented a space underneath the grandstands which presented some challenges as they had to pop all the corn at home and bring it with them; the booth provides them with plenty of space for popping and half of the booth is seating where people can get in out of the hot sun. The booth is also in a great location, between the Richland Ranger Hockey Booth and the Lonsdale United Methodist booth.

For the Berkas, Sidney is the right place for them as they like small towns with a sense of community and the family is happy to continue the business and spend time together while doing it.

Burly's Kettle Corn and Italian Ice have customers who seek them and their delicious products out at regular events, so for anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to become a fan, be sure to stop by and check them out at the Richland County Fair, Wednesday August 5th through Saturday August 8th; for more information contact Pat Berka at 978-846-3597.


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