After offering only a junior fair last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a full Marion County fair filled with rides, games, food and herding shows is back next week .
The 171st County Fair will be held June 28 to July 3 at the Marion County Fairgrounds, located at 220 E. Fairground Street. Doors open at 8 a.m. daily and the fair closes at 8 p.m. Admission is $ 8 per day for ages 11 and over and free for children 10 and under. Season and membership passes are also available for purchase at the fair’s board office for $ 25.
The six-day event will kick off with an opening ceremony Monday at 12 p.m. at the Evers Arena. The ceremony will honor Jerry Criswell, who passed away last year after serving on the Marion County Fair board of directors for more than 40 years.
The six-day event will end with a fireworks display on July 3 at 10 p.m.
Show board secretary Cindy Wood said the show board is working with a new entertainment company, Durant Enterprises, which will provide new rides for the event.
As for the menu, attendees can expect to see the usual fare of the fair: corn dogs, stromboli, pork, fries, funnel cakes and elephant ears.
Among the new additions to the fair this year are several games and activities that the whole family can participate in on the middle stage, said Wood.
“We’ll have different driving challenges, different games to play; we’ll have a watermelon eating contest, a hot dog eating contest, a pizza eating contest,” she said. “We have a hypnotist coming, a water balloon throw. Our middle stop will have a full week of free activities.”
A new initiative from last year that will continue for the 2021 fair is the live broadcast of the breeding shows, said board chairman Keith Seckel. People can register and pay at the fairgrounds website, which costs $ 8 per show, or $ 150 for the entire week.
After having to cancel the majority of the fair last year, Seckel said it was “awesome” to have a full fair again. He said he was a little worried when Marion County and the rest of Ohio experienced a spate of cases in December, but felt reassured the event would continue into January.
“I’m thrilled to have the kids here for a full fair,” Seckel said. “They can display their animals, they can see their friends. I can’t wait to bring the kids back to the fun fair.”
Entertainment in the grandstand
Entertainment at the fair kicks off Monday with harness racing at 11 a.m. Booth passes cost $ 10, with children three and under admitted free. A second race will take place Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Later in the day there is the Tough Truck competition at 7:30 p.m., where trucks compete against each other around a track. All two and four wheel drive trucks are eligible for the contest and vehicles must have working seat belts. Passengers are required to wear a helmet.
The registration fee is $ 25, the rider fee is $ 10. The competition will have 12 spots for pilots to compete for, with the first winner taking home $ 300. The second place winner will win $ 250 and the third place winner $ 200. The first and second place winners will also receive a trophy.
In addition, there will be a contest for residents of Marion County who have the fastest time. The grand prize is $ 100.
On Tuesday, the show will host the demolition derby at 7:30 p.m. A modified pro car can earn up to $ 900, while a stock car pro can earn up to $ 800.
On Wednesday, the A-bar bull-racing and barrel-racing show will take place at 7:30 p.m., while a truck pull will take place at the same time on Thursday.
Weekend events include the National Tractor Pullers Association tractor pull Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the garden tractor pull Saturday at 10 a.m.
The rides will be open every day of the fair. Ticket prices are $ 1.50 each, or $ 35 for 30 tickets. An all-day unlimited bracelet costs $ 14.
Another big part of the fair are the junior breeding shows, which will feature more than 450 children and teens from the Marion County 4-H Club and more than 200 children from local Future Farmers of America chapters, said Margo Long. , a 4-hour youth development educator for Ohio State Extension.
“The whole junior fair program is definitely the foundation for these local county fairs that we have across the state and across the country,” she said.
Beef, goat, mutton and dairy feeders will take place this year at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, while pig, poultry, rabbit and dog shows will continue to take place at Evers Arena.
“Some of the highlights are like every year, watching our youth from the 4-H and FFA programs share their hard work and dedication since early spring,” Long said. “Our steer kids have had their projects for over a year, so they also put a lot of time and effort into it.”
New this year is the Open heart breeding fair, which takes place Friday at 6 p.m. Created by River Valley High School student Kyla Stockdale, the show is intended exclusively for participants with an intellectual disability.
Long said it was exciting to come back to a full fair after only having a junior fair last year.
“It’s nice to be able to go back to basics of what those who came before us have planned,” she said. “A County Fair is a great tradition for our community, so it’s nice to be back.”
In addition, the cattle sale will take place on Saturday at 9 a.m.
For those who may not be able to afford a season pass or tickets for the whole family, the County Fair will offer discount days throughout the week. Monday is Elderly and Women’s Day, where these groups can enter the fair for free with canned food. The discount will last from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wednesday is Children’s Day, with free admission for children 12 and under from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday will be Veterans Day. Any veteran can get free entry with a military ID or discharge papers. Like the other discount days, the offer lasts from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For a full County Fair program, visit marioncountyfairgrounds.com.