JEFFERSON — The 166th Jefferson County Fair kicked off Wednesday beneath blue, sunny skies, drawing crowds of all ages to enjoy Kids’ Day.
“For the first day of the fair, we had great weather,” Jefferson County Fair Park marketing/administrative assistant Amy Listle said. “Tons of kids’ groups were here, day-care centers. Lots of people came out for Kids’ Day and really enjoyed the fair. We’ve got a lot of new entertainment this year, which is really cool.”
There are so many reasons to come to the fair, she noted, struggling to land on just one.
“The fair is so fun,” Listle said. “There’s a lot of different things to do. A lot of people come to the fair to hang out with their family and friends and have reunions and get-togethers and enjoy themselves during the summer.”
The fair will run through Sunday, with a variety of events taking place each day.
“Our grandstand entertainment is awesome, there is lots of judging still left for our animal projects — horses, swine, goats — and the Meat Animal (Project) auction,” Listle said, listing some of the things attendees could look forward to. “And then our family shows are three to four times a day all over the grounds and we have carnival wristband specials every day.”
Tonight at the grandstand will be the Badger Truck Pull. The competition includes Open Stock 6200#; Super Stock 6200#; and the Super Street Diesel 8000#.
Trucks will compete to pull the “Eliminator” down the 300-foot track.
Also, the MadPoleCats will play at the Miller Lite Tent starting at 8 p.m.
Heading in to the weekend, country-music singer Travis Tritt, with opening act Madison County, will take the grandstand stage at 7 p.m. Friday.
Tritt performed at the 2009 Jefferson County Fair. Among his 11 studio albums and numerous charted singles are “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde,” “Here’s A Quarter” and “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive.”
Following the grandstand acts, Madison County will be performing in the Miller Lite Tent at 10:30 p.m. Friday.
For a fourth year, the Garage Band Extravaganza will take place in the Miller Lite Tent beginning at noon on Saturday, July 14.
Also on Saturday are activities in the MAP Arena, such as the 52nd Annual Meat Animal Project (MAP)/Youth Livestock and Dairy Auction at 1 p.m. and the small animal sale at 5 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the Jefferson County Equine Ambassador coronation will take place in the horse arena.
The grandstand stage will feature Randy Houser, along with opening act Stetsin & Lace, starting at 7 p.m.
Houser topped the charts with “How Country Feels,” “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” “Goodnight Kiss” and “We Went,” and earned critical acclaim for his powerful delivery of the Top 5 smash hit and CMA Song of the Year-nominated “Like A Cowboy.”
Stetsin & Lace has been labeled as the “ultimate country party band,” playing anything from boot-stomping classics to the newest hits. The band will play for a second time at the Miller Lite Tent at 10 p.m.
Day Five of the fair on Sunday is “Celebrate Freedom Day.” Current and former military personnel enter free with a valid I.D. or proof of military service.
At 10 a.m., the Future Showmanship Contest for dairy, beef, swine, sheep and goats will take place in the MAP Arena. It is an opportunity for any Cloverbud 4-Her to come out and show.
Following will be the third annual Master Showman Contest at 2 p.m. The best showman from beef, dairy, swine, goat and sheep will come together and compete for the overall title of master showman.
During the contest, the top showman from every species will be showing their animal, but they also will have the challenge of showing every other species.
The Fairest of the Fair crowning immediately will follow the final question, both of which will take place on the Kids’ Stage at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The contestants are Natalie Ciciva, Waterloo, and Libby Knoebel, Helenville.
The final event of the fair held at the grandstand is the International Demolition Derby at 2 p.m. Sunday. Local drivers will “crunch metal, spin out and compete for prize money,” according to the Jefferson County Fair website.
The children’s Power Wheels “demo derby” will be back as well, taking place prior to the track getting hosed down for the adults.
In addition, Sunday is La Movida Family Day in the Miller Lite Tent, from noon to 8 p.m. The event, sponsored by WLMV 1480, will feature live music, additional authentic Mexican food, a jalapeño eating contest, a dance contest and more.
Additional highlights of this year’s fair include the the Sea Lion Splash show, High-Flying Pages Aerial Thrill Show, Pleasure Valley Pig and Duck Races, and Brant the FireGuy. Each perform multiple times throughout the day.
Also, the carnival kicks off at noon each day, and closes at 10 p.m. tonight; 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 6 p.m., Sunday. Rides are not included in the regular admission price.
A wristband for unlimited carnival rides can be purchased for $25 today from noon to 10 p.m., Friday from noon to 11 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.; and for Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Overall, daily events include Commodity Carnival, Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the West Exhibit Building; bingo, today through Friday, from 1 to 4 p.m.; White Claw Hard Seltzer Tasting from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Puller’s Saloon; K-9 demonstrations, Badger Woodturners, the chick hatchery and the corn box.
Seating in the grandstand is free, but tickets for reserved seating and the Party Pit range in price from $10 to $25 for the Friday and Saturday night concerts. Tickets still are available and can be purchased online at www.jcfairpark.com.
Gates open daily at 8 a.m. Daily adult admission at the gate is $10. Daily admission at the gate for seniors, age 62 and up, is $5. Children under 12 will be $5 for daily admission at the gate. Children under 5 are free. As always, parking is free.