It’s county fair time

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Melinda Braun prepares her cow for dairy judging during the 2018 Monroe County Fair. See more photos from past county fairs by clicking here.

With last year’s event canceled due to COVID-19, Monroe County Fair Association President Don Schrader is proud to proclaim this year’s fair will be business as usual. 

“Naturally last year we had no fair, but we were able to put a fair together this year with all the old favorite events that you were used to seeing two years ago,” Schrader said. 

These tried and true fair events include the Demo Derby, Figure 8 Race and Mini-Truck Demo, tractor pulls and FFA Fun Night. Food offerings will be the same as usual, except the Monroe County Pork Producers stand will be replaced with another pork vendor. 

Carnival Armband Night is Thursday, July 22, with free admission at the gate. Schrader said to expect the youth livestock auction (formerly the FFA and 4-H auction), a two-hour live show with the Feudin’ Hillbillies and more. Thursday is one of three free admission days – the other two being the two Sundays of fair week. 

The major difference between this year and past years has been the planning process, Schrader said. Planning started in February, when the future of the pandemic was uncertain and many restrictions were not yet lifted. 

Schrader said the fair board struggled securing contracts at times, as at some points they worried the fair would have to be canceled again.

“It was quite a challenge to get it all started knowing of so many uncertainties, but we couldn’t wait until the first of June to do it all,” Schrader said. “We were very positive and optimistic from the beginning that it was going to be OK, and it looks like it will be.” 

Because of the pandemic, the board needed to get approval on “literally everything” from the Monroe County Health Department. 

“We worked very close with them,” Schrader said of the health department. “We need to be very proud of our health department because they’re a great group.” 

In the end, the fair board found out it does not need to impose any capacity limits, nor impose any other special restrictions due to the pandemic. 

Schrader said masks will be optional. 

“I was very delighted because I felt that everybody would have understood if we had to make special provisions to have something, but just getting back to regular times when people could come and go, it’s just going to make for a better setting for the fair, he said”

The fair kicks off this Sunday with the Junior Class Horse Show starting at 10 a.m., a Kloepper Tournament in the beer pavilion at 3:30 p.m. and the Little Miss and Monroe County Fair Queen Pageant at 7 p.m. 

See a full schedule in the special section included with this week’s paper or online at monroecounty-fair.org.

For a collection of photos from past Monroe County fairs, which can be purchased as prints or digital downloads, click here.

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