Bakken Rocks Cookfest Comes to Area

The North Dakota Petroleum Foundation will host its 11th Annual Bakken Rocks CookFest in Bowman on Tuesday, July 16 and Van Hook on July 18, bringing area residents a day of free food, music, games and activities for kids, and information sessions about the oil and gas industry.
Held twice each summer in two communities in oil and gas producing areas, 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 enjoy an afternoon and evening of food and music.
The CookFest has been the hallmark event of the North Dakota Petroleum Foundation’s (NDPF) 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 20 different communities throughout western North Dakota.
“This event remains a favorite among our companies and a favorite among the communities in the west,” says Tessa Sandstrom, Director of Community Relations 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.”

Barbecuing in Bowman
Tuesday, July 16
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. MDT – Bakken Basics Information and Q&A Session
Bowman Lodge and Convention Center – Young Room
The agenda includes a Bakken outlook and regulatory update from Lynn Helms, director for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources; a discussion on drilling, production and well integrity from Kathy Neset, president of NESET, an oilfield services and consulting firm; transportation of Bakken crude from Katie Haarsager, public information officer for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources; and, an update on Denbury’s CO2 enhanced oil recovery efforts.
4 p.m. to 7 p.m. MDT – Food and Music
Main St. in Bowman
Jacob Johnson and Kyle Wells of the Broken Spokes will take the stage to provide live entertainment while visitors enjoy free food and BBQ from the 13 companies participating in this year’s CookFest.
6:45 p.m. MDT – Governor Doug Burgum will present awards to the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice winners.
Both events will include activities for kids, including the Gateway to Science Mobile Exhibit, the Mule Deer Foundation’s youth shooting range and a bouncehouse. Both events are free and open to the public.
This year’s events are expected to attract about 2,500 people between the two events, with many people traveling from surrounding communities and counties to take in the event.
“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 Bowman and Van Hook 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); Westhope and Medora (2017); and, Grenora and Twin Buttes (2018).
For more information about the event, visit

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