By Starrla Cray
McLEOD COUNTY, MN For some, it’s the rides, the contests, or the bands. For others, it’s the food, the livestock, or the exhibits.
No matter what draws people in, summer just wouldn’t be complete without the McLeod County Fair, set for Wednesday, Aug. 19 to Sunday, Aug. 23 at the fairgrounds in Hutchinson.
It’s a tradition that dates back to 1872, with five days of excitement for all ages.
This year, fairgoers can enjoy a double dose of autocross, both Wednesday and Saturday at 7 p.m. The Speed Channel will be coming to tape the event.
About 40 people usually compete, and there are several categories to choose from, fair manager Nancy Witte said.
“It gets bigger and bigger,” she said.
Another grandstand event will be the moto cross, Thursday, Aug. 20 and Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 23, an antique tractor pull will take place at 12:30 p.m., and a demolition derby will be at 6 p.m.
In addition to purchasing food from vendors, people will have the opportunity to eat for free, Witte said, with a sweet corn feed Wednesday at 6 p.m., Witte said.
“That’s new this year,” she said.
Those who come to the fair for music are sure to get their fill this year.
“We’re providing a lot more entertainment,” Witte said. The fair now has two stages instead of one, located on each side of the pavilion, she said. This way, one band can still be playing while another is setting up.
From 8 p.m. to midnight each night of the fair, there will be a different featured band playing. Wednesday, Aug. 19 will be Hush; Thursday, Aug. 20 will be Judd Ave; and Friday, Aug. 21 will be Hairball. The Shaw Brothers will play Saturday, Aug. 22; and Clover will play Sunday, Aug. 23.
“We’re really excited we have Hairball coming,” Witte said.
This will also be the third year of the battle of the bands event.
“It’s usually local bands that compete against each other,” Witte said.
The promise stage will feature several entertainers, such as The Flyers, the Wonderful World of Woody, the Big Fun Family Circus, and the Zoo Mobile. Veggie races will also take place on the promise stage.
For people interested in livestock, the McLeod County Fair showcases many different types, including sheep, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and more.
Minnesota’s largest boar, Corn Dog, will also be there. The 1,040-pound pig is owned by the Jim Dostal family in Hutchinson.
The carnival, by Gold Star Amusements, will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19. Daycare children can ride for free from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20.
There will also be several opportunities to compete this year, including a chocolate lovers contest, McLeod County talent contest, kids contests, and more.
For the full schedule of events, go to www.mcleodcountyfair.com.