The sights, sounds and thrills of the 54th Columbia County Fair are only days away as crews work to unpack and set up stomach-churning rides, attractions and games as food wagons are arranged along the midway.
The fair’s opening day ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday will feature guest speaker Alfonso Levy.
Also, in memory of Power Country’s “Uncle Bob” Hendrickson, opening day will be named “Uncle Bob Day,” and as usual admission is free from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. opening day only, according to Steve Briscoe, president of Columbia County Resources Inc., organizers of the fair.
Fall weather is right on cue, promising humidity-free sunny days and chilly evening strolls along the midway, the night perfect for corn dogs, sausages, candy apples and kettle corn.
This year, as in year’s past, the Columbia County Fair will continue to maintain its connection with the events that helped shape it: The competitive exhibition of livestock, agriculture, horticulture and arts and crafts among others.
“We are proud that we carry on the tradition of what a county fair derives from,” Briscoe said.
Along with rides for all ages, attractions will play a big part in the fair.
“We have a great lineup starting with illusionist and hypnotist Ron Diamond,” Briscoe said. “He’s been with us for more than a decade and he’s a fair favorite.”
Other attractions include nightly livestock shows and the popular Small Animal Barn. An attraction not typically found on a farm is the Live Stingray Encounter. It will be on display in its own tank so that fair-goers can easily see and pet the giant but gentle sea creature.
For the kids, an Interactive Game Experience area will be available complete with the latest hardware that includes a Playstation-2, X-Box and Game Cube. Children can also sign up for the “Guitar Hero” competition to be held throughout the week with the winner decided on Nov. 8, the final night of the fair.
Rides will dominate the midway as usual and this year there are a few new ones.
“We brought a couple of new rides this year, one is called the Tornado and the other is the Wipeout,” said Harlan Bast, president of Hildebrand Rides Inc. and manager of the fair’s midway. “For the kiddies, we brought a brand new ride from Italy called The Dragon Boat.
“The little kids can swing back and forth like the big kids do on the Sea Ray,” Bast said. “We also brought two new family rides called The Silver Streak and The Music Express.”
Bast said in addition to the new rides the ever-popular Graviton, Power Surge and The Drop Tower will be back as well.
For those few who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the week’s musical entertainment should be just the ticket.
First up is Nashville-recording artist Kenneth Brian who performs at 8 p.m.; then it’s Str8up, a band that plays high-energy Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Motown, will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 1; Local talent will perform at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 5; The Mercy Mountain Boys are bringing their mix of traditional country and Gospel to the stage at 8 p.m. Nov. 6; Kickstart, a mixture of easy listening, rock & roll and a little country, will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 7; and local favorite Adam Sander & The Band will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 8 to close out the fair.
Admission to the fair is $5 daily and a $15 armband will allow admission to all rides most days along with daily specials.