MARSHALL — Steeped in tradition, the Calhoun County Fair promises to something for all ages when gates open Saturday for the 173rd edition.
"We've got the animals, merchants, vendors and entertainment," said Cathy Combs, fair director. "We have a lot of free things that you can do as well outside of the grandstand; lot's of new fair food and a couple of new events."
The Calhoun County Fair first took place in 1839, tying with Lenawee County for the state's oldest. It became an annual event in 1848. It was canceled in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I, and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presented by the Calhoun County Agricultural and Industrial Society, the eight-day event takes place at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, at 720 Fair St. Organizers estimated a record of more than 90,000 attended fair-week festivities in 2021.
"Everybody across the state and actually across the country, they warned us that (attendance) was going to be huge," Combs said of last year's fair. "We do not expect that every year. It was abnormal. It helped us provide a boost to our needs because we did not have a fair in 2020."
2021 Calhoun County Fair
Here is what patrons need to know ahead the 2022 Calhoun County Fair:
• When: Aug. 13-20
• Where: Calhoun County Fairgrounds, 720 Fair St., Marshall
• Tickets: Daily admission - $10; weekly gate pass - $55, $25 with CCAIS membership; parking - free.
• Free admission: Daily - Kids 9 and under; Saturday - Opening day; Monday, - Heroes Day (all active duty, veterans, and emergency service personnel from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.); Aug. 17 - Senior Day (over 60)
Barn exhibitions, King and Queen
Fair week begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the presentation of colors at Koster Arena, followed by the youth non-livestock judging at 9 a.m. inside the covered arena.
Throughout fair week there will be shows for rabbits, poultry, mini horses, donkeys, goats, swine and dairy animals, with judging for agriculture, horticulture and livestock.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, the fair king and king contest will take place inside the covered arena.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, antique tractor pulls kick off a week of grandstand events, followed by open horse pulls at 5 p.m. Opening day admission to the grandstand is free, and will be between $5 and $15 for the remainder of the week.
On Sunday, there will be a grandstand music festival featuring Derek Jones and the 50 South beginning at 6:30 p.m. Lost Nations Rodeo takes over the grandstand at 7 p.m. Monday with a rodeo. There will be dirt drag racing (7 p.m. Tuesday), truck pulls (7 p.m. Aug. 17), big machine car soccer (7 p.m. Aug. 18), "Night of Destruction" (7 p.m. Aug. 19) and a demolition derby (6:30 p.m. Aug. 20).
For a complete schedule of grandstand events and tickets, visit calhouncountyfairgrounds.com.
Carnival & Frozen meet-and-greet
The midway by TJ Schmidt & Company runs Aug. 15-20, including rides for all ages, games and food vendors selling carnival favorites like elephant ears, corn dogs, frozen lemonade and cotton candy.
On Tuesday, there will be a private meet-and-greet with characters from Disney's "Frozen" at 9:40 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the fairground church. Reservations are limited to 40 per time slot, and are$25 for one child and one adult, $5 for an additional adult and $20 for an additional child. Call the fair office at 269-781-8161 to reserve tickets.
Contact reporter Nick Buckley at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: The 173rd Calhoun County Fair begins Saturday. Here's what's on tap