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County Fair begins Aug. 7

IRON RIVER—County fairs across the country are a staple of traditional small-town American summers and Iron County’s version is no different.
    Now in its 128 year, the Iron County Fair offers fun for young children to senior citizens and everybody in between.
    “Oh, for sure,” said Iron County Fair Manager Carrie Nelson. “There’s the animals, there’s the crafts, there’s the rides, there’s the games, there’s entertainment like music, the cornhole tournament, the demolition derby. We try to make sure everybody has something.”
    This year’s fair runs from Aug. 8-11 at the Iron County Fairgrounds. It begins at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 7, for entry day and stays open until 7 p.m. Senior Day follows on Thursday, including a senior lunch from noon to 3 p.m. in the bandstand.
    Also going on all day are the 4-H Open Class Exhibit judging and an arts and crafts sale.
    The Horse Fun Night begins at 4 p.m. in the horse arena, while the coin scramble is scheduled for the rotunda at 5:30 p.m.
    The Miss Iron County contest will be held again this year with six candidates running. The contestants will give speeches in the bandstand at 4:30 p.m. and the contest itself will start at 7 p.m. in the rotunda.
    Live music from Jim Clement will also be held on Thursday from 6-9.
    This year’s fair will also feature new bands - “Neverlund” on Friday and “Decade XS” on Saturday.
    On Friday, livestock judging starts at 9 a.m. with market livestock judging kicking off at 1. The market livestock auction begins at 7 p.m. in the rotunda.
    Back for its second year will be a cornhole tournament, scheduled for Friday in the grandstand area. Registration will begin at 6 p.m. Last year, the cornhole tournament featured 36 teams in an event which has gained in popularity across the country in recent years.
    Saturday begins with speed events in the Horse Arena at 9 a.m. while Down on the Farm begins at 11 a.m. in the
    One of the crowd favorites, the Kiddie Demo, returns this summer. The event, which starts at 2 p.m. in the rotunda, puts kids in power-wheel vehicles. Children ages 3-7 can participate in the demo, which has had 50 or more entries since its inception.
    Cost to enter this year is $5 per child.
    Saturday evening is highlighted by the always popular Demolition Derby, which gets revved up at 6 p.m. in the grandstand. The demo will be put on this year by O’Claire Productions. Cost for adults will be $10, $5 for kids 12 and under.
    Live music between 6-9 p.m. will conclude the day.
    Sunday starts with a loggers/farmers’ breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. in the bandstand. The performance show in the horse arena gets underway at 9 a.m. while rabbit showmanship starts at 10 in the rotunda.
    The Logging Expo also returns this year, starting at noon.
    “Loggers Day has provided us the opportunity this year to give out two scholarships, one to a West Iron student and one to a Forest Park student,” Nelson said.
    Backseat Driving/Horsing Around is back again, beginning at 1 p.m. in the rotunda. A tricycle race in the rotunda begins at 2 p.m.
    Soundz of Time will entertain fairgoers with live music from 2-5 p.m. with the Iron County Fair Raffle will be held in the grandstand beginning at 3. The raffle will feature over 90 prizes this year, an increase from a year ago.
    Exhibits and livestock will be released at 5 p.m.
    Prices for parking, admission and the demolition derby have not changed. Seasonal parking costs $5 with a walk-in admission of $1. Demo derby admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children.
    Earl’s Rides of Weyauwega, Wis. is back as the carnival provider.      
    Fairgoers will also see improvements to the grounds and buildings. The Iron County Fair Board recently received a $14,000 grant from the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions. Nelson said the money will go toward plumbing improvements.
    There will also be updated lighting, new siding on booths, 12 picnic tables and new doors for the rotunda, to be paid for by the fair and the county.
    All in all, things are looking up for the Iron County Fair.
    “Last year, for the first time in six years we made a profit,” Nelson said. “So, I’m feeling good about it. Our board has increased in younger and newer members and they are trying to elicit more positive things for the fair.
    “Between all the improvements and everything, we’re going to be busy.”