Aug. 6—The vendors have only just started parking their trailers at the Mower County Fairgrounds, but fair officials are already excited by the potential of this year's fair, which gets underway on Tuesday.
Board President Kevin Finley said he was already seeing indications based on surrounding fairs and early registration for the county's own fair that this could be one of the biggest years on record.
"We're looking forward to it," Finley said. "Look at surrounding fairs and attendance is up pretty strong at all of them. People — with the high fuel costs — are not going on as many trips or vacations. Let's hit the fair an extra night or two. In the rest of the communities attendance has been tremendous."
That's saying a lot considering the fair enjoyed record attendance last year coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Finley said that interest has been at a high in the weeks and months leading up to the fair and that's got them hopeful for another record-breaking year.
He went on to say that food vendor spots are taken up as well as vendor spots in the Plager Building.
"We're full," Finley emphasized.
While the fair will be instantly recognizable to most all who come to the fair this year, there are going to be a few changes that should have people excited, particularly at the Grand Stand where two nights of Great Frontier Bull Riding will be staged rather than one.
Considered to be one of the biggest draws of the fair, the move to two nights just made sense.
"It's just a sell out every Saturday night," Finley said. "This year we made it two nights. That way, hopefully, we sell out more nights and there's more of an opportunity to make one night, maybe both."
It also made sense, because both Friday and Saturday nights are premier nights at the fair, with people looking to round out the week with a bang.
"Bull riding is great for the family," Finley said. "It's a great family event — that's what the fair is about. Family. The fair is like a big family reunion."
Finley went on to say that there are some new food vendors in store this year as well as a packed Fair Square stage and bands each night in the Purple Ribbon Plaza.
Add in the 4-H activities, which also looks to be up, a newly added bouncy house for kids on Kids Day and all the old favorites, and things are working out to be another big year at the Mower County Fair.
"We want to have a great fair because our community is so great," Finley said. "We work all year long to provide a great fair for people. The level of investment in the community has been better than it ever has been. Look at the quality of our fairgrounds. Wherever you go, you won't see the same quality."
The fair officially kick-off with the Opening Ceremonies at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Fair Square, where the Fair Person of the Year will also be named.
For more information on this year's Mower County Fair, visit: www.mowercountyfair.com/
New Food Vendors
—BJ's Sweet Treats & More: Caramel apple sundaes/apples, nachos, cotton candy, soft pretzels, caramel corn, ice cream sandwiches and more.
—Bummy's BBQ: barbecue brisket, port and turkey sandwiches, nachos, loaded mac & cheese, coleslaw and jalapeño corn.
—Happi Lao: Eggrolls, crab rangoons, spring rolls, papaya salad, chicken fried rice or noodles, meatballs on a stick, sesame balls, fried taro, friend banana or pineapple, fresh fruit cups.
—Pizza Ranch: Biscuits and gravy, small breakfast pizzas, two-piece chicken dinners.
—Stagecoach BBQ & Grill: Loaded waffle fries, cowboy nuggets, bone-in and Boneless wings, chicken sandwich/wrap, onion rings.
—Tasty Fam LLC: Asian foods.
Tuesday: Motokazie Motocross, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Enduro Racing, 7 p.m.
Thursday: NTPA Tractor Pull, 7 p.m.
Friday: Great Frontier Bullriding, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Great Frontier Bullriding, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Masters of Disaster Demolition Derby, 2 p.m.
Purple Ribbon Plaza
Tuesday: Funktion Junction, 8 p.m.
Wednesday: Slippin Jimmy, 8 p.m.
Thursday: Shades of Blue, 8 p.m.
Friday: County Line Drive, 8 p.m.
Saturday: Trouble Shooter, 8 p.m.
Sunday: Slippin Jimmy, 1 p.m.
Tuesday: Opens at 5 p.m. All rides $2, no wristbands
Wednesday: Opens at 3 p.m. Daily wristbands $30 per person. Unlimited rides 3-10 p.m.
Thursday: Kids Day. Wristbands $15 per person sold at the fair office only from 1-4 p.m. Unlimited rids 1-10 p.m. or daily wristband $30 per person, unlimited rides from 4-10 p.m.
Friday: Opens at 1 p.m. Daily wristbands $30 per person. Unlimited rides 1-10 p.m.
Saturday: Opens at noon. Daily wristbands $30 per person. Unlimited rides noon to 10 p.m.
Sunday: Opens at noon. Daily wristbands $30 per person. Unlimited rides noon to 7 p.m.