Whether it’s the horses, music, motocross, mutton bustin’ or the diaper derby, the Anoka County Fair is once again bringing activities, food and animals for all ages to the fairgrounds from July 24 to 29. The fair opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 24 and closes around 10 p.m. July 29.
New to the fair this year is Thank A Farmer, an educational skit for children with daily magic show performances. Anoka County Fair Board President Mike Ahlers said Thank A Farmer will teach kids about farm animals and other aspects of farming.
“It’s geared toward kids but being in the suburban area that we are some adults may receive an education, too,” Ahlers said.
Kids will also have the opportunity to try their hand at milking a simulated cow.
4-H programs will begin with animal shows starting on Tuesday and running through Sunday. Along with the 4-H animals, visitors will have the opportunity to view the 4-H Arts in Youth musical performance at the Exhibit Building.
Also new to the fair this year is a large plastic mural for all ages to color. The mural depicts a county fair setting and will be erased at the end of each day.
Visitors might notice a few changes to the fairgrounds this year, including new blacktop and changes to the interior of the old church.
Anoka County Fair Manager Ray Hyovalti has been with the Anoka County Fair for over 20 years and said each year it’s a challenge to get everything running smoothly. Around 45,000 people attend the fair each year. He credited the office staff for having a large hand in making the fair happen each year.
“We always hope for good weather,” Hyovalti said.
According to Ahlers, the Anoka County Fair fireworks show is the largest one-time show for a fair in the state and will take place at dusk on Wednesday.
The fair will also feature events for senior citizens ages 62 and over on Wednesday, including entertainment in the beer garden, bingo, a seniors lunch, recognition of the winner of the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award and couples that have been married 50 years or more and a polka band. Admission for seniors ages 62 and over will be $4 on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The bandshell will feature the musical acts of Uncle Chunk on July 24, Iron Horse on July 25, Eagle River on July 26, Boogie Wonderland on July 27, Chris Brooks Band on July 28 and Sherwin Linton on July 29. All groups will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. Special guest Katie Ray will perform at 2 p.m. on July 29.
The talent show competition will also take place at the bandshell from Wednesday through Saturday. The beer garden will feature both The Banjo Boys and The Off Brothers on July 25, the Soup Bones on July 26, The Law Band on July 27 and 100 Watt Jones on July 28.
Rides at the midway will open at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, at 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission to the fair is $9 for adults and $4 for children ages seven to 12. Children ages six and under may enter for free. Parking at the fair is free.
Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]