By Starrla Cray
CARVER COUNTY, MN Known as “the best five days of summer,” the Carver County Fair promises to bring entertainment of all kinds to the fairgrounds in Waconia Wednesday, Aug. 5 to Sunday, Aug. 9.
From a show with a 300-pound alligator to a sold-out demolition derby, Carver County’s fair is a unique mix of excitement for people of all ages and interests.
A Guitar Hero contest, which was new in 2008, will take place both Friday and Saturday night.
“We had such good success with it last year that we decided to do two nights instead of one,” said Mike Jensen, general manager of the Carver County Fair.
Another big event is the pig races, where trained pigs run to the finish line, where Oreo cookies await them.
“People really seem to like that,” Jensen said.
A new attraction this year will be Alfy’s World of Robotic Puppets. With names like Oikee the Pig, Inko the Christmas Elf, and Fireball Lefty, the charming puppets are remote controlled by Alfred A. E. Wolfram of St. Paul.
“Kids can interact with the puppets and they don’t know who is controlling it, because he stands back a ways,” Jensen said.
Musical entertainment also abounds at the Carver County Fair, with bands like Johnny Holm, Hairball, Silverado, Diamondback, Shaw Brothers, and more.
The demolition derby will be Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9. This grandstand event always sells out, with about 6,000 people in attendance each night, Jensen said.
Tasty food also brings people to the fair, Jensen said. From apple pie on a stick and ostrich burgers to weisswurst and deep fried green beans, there’s always something new to try.
“We have a lot of different food venders here,” Jensen said.
Fair-goers might also notice a mascot named Tippy the Cow greeting visitors and taking pictures with children. The mascot costume is of NFL mascot quality, Jensen said.
“The kids love it,” he said. “We picked a cow because we have such a huge dairy exhibiting population.”
Throughout the week, people can participate in a variety of contests, discovering who has the best homemade cookies, scrapbook, or comfort food recipe.
Kids’ day, Saturday, Aug. 8, also gives children a chance to compete. The pedal pull, for ages 4 to 11, begins with registration at 10:30 a.m., and the diaper derby (up to 18 months), is at 1 p.m.
In addition to new attractions, the buildings and landscaping of the fairgrounds are also constantly improving.
“We’ve really upgraded our fairgrounds,” Jensen said. In the past five years, three new buildings and new restrooms have been added. Major remodeling was also done to existing buildings, he added.
“We also put a lot of money into landscaping and asphalt projects,” he said. “It’s a very clean and dust-free fairgrounds.”
For a full schedule of the Carver County Fair events, go to www.carvercountyfair.com.