By Starrla Cray
McLEOD COUNTY, MN Talk to someone who lives in or near McLeod County, and chances are, their plans for Aug. 18-22 include at least one trip to the McLeod County Fair.
“We usually get about 35,000 people,” fair secretary Marian Filk said.
The reason for such high attendance is simple.
“There is something for everyone,” Filk explained. “The entertainment aspect, the music, the quilts and flowers I don’t even know where to start.”
One of the intriguing new attractions is the “Classic Ribfest” Sunday, Aug. 22.
“It’s a competition where people can make their own recipes and win prizes,” Filk said.
Teams each pay $50 to participate, and 100 percent of entry fees will be awarded as prize money.
“The ribs will be provided, so that contestants can put on their own sauces and spices,” Filk said.
Cooking will take place throughout the morning, with judging starting at 1 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Filk said. “It’s going to smell absolutely wonderful.”
Another new source of fair excitement will be the Underwater Adventures Thursday, Aug. 19 from 1 to 8 p.m. on the Promise Stage, with an educational shark performance at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s the attraction that’s down at the Mall of America,” Filk said.
A sweet treat at the fair will be the second annual sweet corn feed at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18. Free sweet corn will be provided by The Alliance of Victims of Domestic Abuse and McLeod County Ag Association.
“It’s kind of one of those nice things they do,” Filk said. Last year, there was stormy weather for the event, so she hopes the weather will cooperate this year.
Some attractions, such as the carnival and animal showings, are available any day of the fair, but each day has a special focus.
Wednesday, Aug. 18
The focus for the opening day of the fair is “celebrating community.” It is also the livestock entry day.
At 7 p.m., there will be an auto cross in the grandstand, and at 8 p.m., Shaw Brothers will play on the C & L stage.
Wednesday is also the first night of the drawing, which takes place at 10 p.m. each day of the fair. Four $50 attendance awards will be drawn nightly.
Five vehicle tickets will also be drawn each night, and placed in a locked container. From those 25 tickets, a grand-prize winner will be drawn on the last evening of the fair. The winner will receive a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, purchased from Harpel Brothers in Glencoe.
Thursday, Aug. 19
“Education” is the focus of the second day of the fair. GoldStar Amusements midway opens at 1 p.m., and several livestock shows take place throughout the afternoon.
Entertainers for the day include Magician Matt Dunn, the Spatter Sisters, Chuck Thiel, Prairie Rose, and Hat Stand Jack.
Friday, Aug. 20
Friday’s fair theme is “celebrating senior citizens.”
From 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a veterans’ benefit fair at the south corporate stage.
Special senior citizen entertainment will be provided by the Prairie Fiddlers at 1 p.m. on the C & L stage.
Other events on Friday include a presentation with live raptors on the Promise Stage at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and a “good old days” threshing bee at 1 p.m. at the northeast end of the fairgrounds.
At 4 p.m. there will be a “Battle of Bands,” sponsored by MEADA, on the south corporate stage. At that time, there will also be a pedal pull at the pavilion.
Friday night’s musical entertainment is Hairball, which will be performing at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 21
Youngsters will love spending time at the fair Saturday, with the theme “celebrating kids.”
The Skyhawks air show will take place at 10 a.m., and the Hutchinson Clown Club will be on hand at 11 a.m.
A Lego-building competition will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the creative activities building, with winners announced at noon.
Entries for the “chocolate lovers’ contest” will be accepted starting at 10 a.m., with judging at 1 p.m.
Children also have the opportunity to win a bicycle, with a bike drawing at 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 22
The final day of the fair is “family day.”
The 31st annual McLeod County talent contest will take place at 1 p.m. in the show arena.
Families will also enjoy the demolition derby, which starts at 6 p.m.
Evening entertainment will be provided by Clover.
At 9 p.m., the grand prize drawing will take place for the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt.
To see a full schedule of fair events, go to www.mcleodcountyfair.com.
Tickets and info
Adult general admission is $5, and children 12 and under are free.
Each adult general admission ticket provides one chance to win the grand prize vehicle drawing.
A season gate pass (offering five chances to win the grand prize drawing) is $15.
Admission to the auto cross, moto cross, and demolition derby are $8 each.
The fair is located on Century Avenue, less than a mile west of Highway 15.
For more information about the McLeod County Fair, call (320) 587-2499, e-mail email@example.com, or go to www.mcleod countyfair.com.
McLeod Fair officials
• Mark Vacek, president
• Scott Schochenmaier, vice president
• Connie Lambert, treasurer
• Marian Filk, secretary
• Virginia Brodd
• Brett Kuttner
• Jim Fahey
• Jerry Schimelpfenig
• Robert Paulson
• Robert Hantge