By Starrla Cray
McLEOD COUNTY, MN Now celebrating its 140th season, the McLeod County Fair is a long-lived summer tradition that keeps getting better and better.
This year, the fun starts Wednesday, Aug. 15, and goes through Sunday, Aug. 19.
One highlight is a veterans theme Aug. 18, with free admission to all veterans that day.
“We have a program starting at 4 p.m.,” fair manager/secretary Casey Walters said.
The event will begin with a presentation by a military color guard, and the national anthem sung by Winsted native Joe Holmers. The program will also include recognition for those who have served, guest speaker Kim Heikkila, author of “Sisterhood of War,” as well as a concert by Nashville, TN recording artist Rockie Lynne.
DiamondBack will provide entertainment that evening, starting at 8 p.m.
“We’ve got a new website with a full list of schedules and links to band sound clips,” Walters said.
Go to www.mcleodcountyfair.com to check it out.
Another change is the carnival, which will now be provided by Amusement Attractions. Advanced ride tickets (five for $10) are available at banks throughout McLeod County.
Every year at the McLeod County Fair, nightly attendance drawings take place at 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s the same as last year, but the prize money has doubled,” Walters said. “We have up to $13,000 available.”
The opening of the fair, Aug. 15, is “senior citizens day,” sponsored by KDUZ/KARP.
The excitement officially begins at 1 p.m., with rides from Amusement Attractions, as well as a senior citizen program by The Kingery Family singers on the C&L Stage.
The children’s barnyard also opens at that time.
“We are expanding the children’s barnyard, with ‘farmer for a day’ activities,” Walters said, explaining that there will be opportunities to pick toy apples and collect toy eggs.
From 6 p.m. until it’s gone, free sweet corn will be available, sponsored by the McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence and the McLeod County Agricultural Association.
At 7 p.m., autocross will take place in the grandstand.
The second fair day, sponsored by Glencoe Regional Health Services, celebrates agriculture. At 9 a.m. will be 4-H shows for dairy, goats, and horses, followed by open-class poultry judging.
Actress and scriptwriter Greta Grosch will perform on the Promise Stage at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. In between shows, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will have story time, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The Promise Stage will also feature Scottish dancers, at 1:30 and 2:45 p.m.
Throughout the evening, starting at 6:30 p.m., Blurred Vision will perform in the South Tent.
At 7:30 p.m., Pro AWF Wrestling will be at the North Corporate Tent. The cover charge is $5 for adults, $20 for a family, and free for ages 12 and under.
“We’re advertising Thursday as a night of rock and wrestling,” Walters said.
Tetra Pak in Winsted is sponsoring the third day of the fair, which celebrates community.
Promise Stage performances include magician Star Michaelina, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Oaks & Pines Bell Choir, Theatre of Fools, and Stoney Point.
A pedal pull will take place at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 4-H livestock auction at 5:30 p.m.
“Hairball is coming for the fourth year. The Ladies of the ‘80s will be their opening act,” Walters said, adding that the performance starts at 8 p.m., with a $5 cover charge.
The fourth fair day, celebrating children and honoring veterans, is sponsored by Cash Wise Foods in Hutchinson.
A Sky Hawks Air Show at the grandstand infield will take place at 10 a.m.
Visitors will have an opportunity to see the Wendinger Band, ventriloquist Dave Malmberg, and yo-yo master Dazzling Dave, to name a few of the many attractions.
A drawing for girls and boys bikes will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the North Corporate Tent, followed by the veterans program.
The fifth and final day of the fair, sponsored by Crow River Winery on Highway 7, celebrates family.
“Last year, we had our first car show,” Walters said. “They’re expecting double the entries this year.”
Registration for the car/motorcycle show starts at 9 a.m., and the show starts at 11 a.m. Trophies will be given at 3 p.m. For details, contact Christy Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (320) 587-0711.
Another return attraction is the Classic Ribfest. Setup begins at 6 a.m., and people’s choice judging takes place at 2 p.m.
The annual McLeod County talent contest is also popular. The 34th annual event open to all amateur entertainers who have pre-registered starts at 1 p.m. in the show arena.
To learn more about the McLeod County Fair, call (320) 587-2399 or go to www.mcleodcountyfair.com.