DONNELLSON –– Cows, pigs, rabbits and human families will, for the 168th time, make their way to the Lee County Fair this week and weekend.
Touted as the state’s oldest fair, it began in 1841 and has been providing family entertainment every summer since. This year there are plenty of old favorites back and grandstand events and weekend tent entertainment to boot.
Fair Manager Brenda Mohrfeld said there are a lot of new things going on this year; a Bluegrass Jamboree will be held every day and the one-room schoolhouse will be open. There are more activities for older children and adults as well. She said there is camping, too, but the spring has been too wet to install the electrical hook-ups.
“Other than that, it’s the same, only bigger and better,” she said.
The fair kicks off tonight as Family Night, with a “Sneak Peek” of what is to come for the rest of the week. A Bluegrass Jamboree will take place in a tent on the grounds from 1 to 7 p.m. Grandstand events are free tonight with the crowning of the Lee County Fair junior fair queen and the 2009 Lee County Fair queen at 5:30 p.m.
The junior fair queen contestants are Alora Brecount, 13, daughter of June and Tony Brecount; Traci Keller, 14, daughter of Gary and Kristi Krauter Keller; Cassie Krebill, 12, daughter of Craig and Susan Krebill; Abby Kesselring, 12, daughter of Chad and Pam Kesselring; and Abby Steffensmeier, 13, daughter of Adrian Jr. and Judy Steffensnmeier.
Queen contestants are Stefani Keller, 18, daughter of Gary and Kristi Keller; Emily Krogmeier, 18, daughter of Clem and Jolisa Krogmeier; Addison McFerren, 18, daughter of Dennis and Chanene McFerren; Caitlin Pardall, 17, daughter of Eric and Amy Pardall; Paige Pardall, 15, daughter of Vince and Angie Pardall; Stephanie Rogers, 18, daughter of Christine and Bob Burdett and Michelle Rogers; and Shaye Wilson, 18, daughter of Rhonda Wilson.
After the queen is crowned, the night’s grandstand entertainment is go cart races. Hot laps for the races are at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.
For those not interested in the race, a talent show will also take place at 7 p.m. in the learning center.
On Thursday, Kids Day, the fair begins in earnest at 7 a.m. with the U.C.C. Church of Donnellson holding a breakfast at the learning center. The Ernie Rotter Barn Museum opens at 10 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. A host of activities open at 1 p.m., including the Gee Willies inflatables, horse drawn wagon rides, petting zoo, the little toot express train, horse and carriage rides, Farmer Bill’s Barn, The Bluegrass Jamboree and the Sean Carlock Magic show on the KSB stage. Another magic show will be at 4:30 p.m.
There also is a story time at 1:30 p.m. and pioneer school activities at 2:30 p.m. at the Veile Schoolhouse.
At 2 p.m., there will be vaudeville shows and a juggling act at 2 and 4 p.m. and a children’s circus show at the KSB stage.
There are two seminars that could be helpful for parents. Both are in the learning center. The first is at 1:30 p.m. and is called “How to Have a Healthy Child.” The second at 2:30 p.m. features a dietitian and is called “Healthy Food for Your Child.
At 11 a.m. there is a small pets, rabbit and poultry show in the show barn. At 4 p.m. in the show barn is the sheep show, followed by the sheep producer’s lamb supper at the learning center.
The night’s grandstand activity is the sanctioned truck and tractor pull. There also is karaoke at 9 p.m. in the entertainment tent.
Friday kicks off with the Pampered Pals breakfast at 7 a.m. at the learning center.
Friday is Senior Day at the fair. Along with the rides for the kids, there are activities for seniors, including bingo from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the learning center. From 1 to 5 p.m. there are free blood pressure checks, estate planning information, Great River Hospice Coping with Loss and Support Group information and other informational booths from the Lee County Health Department, FMCH Rehab center and American Cancer Society.
At 2:30 p.m. there is free ice cream for senior citizens at the learning center and a balance and fall prevention seminar.
Grandma will have her chance to enter a baking contest at the Grandma’s favorite cookie contest at 3 p.m. at the KSB stage.
Animal shows Friday include the swine show at 8 a.m., the bucket bottle calf show and dairy/goat show at 12:30 p.m. and a bucket bottle calf show at 6 p.m.
The night’s grandstand entertainment will be the sprint invaders race along with several other classes of cars at 7 p.m. with local rock band TNT playing in the entertainment tent at 9 p.m.
Saturday begins with breakfast at 7 a.m. in the learning center by the U.C.C Church of Donnellson. At 8 a.m. the Kevin Young memorial 10K run takes place and the Kay Young-Junkins Fun walk begins at the learning center shelter house.
At 9 a.m. the VanWinkle chess tournament begins. At 2 p.m. the wine expo contest takes place in the tent on the grounds. At 3 p.m. there will be a dodgeball tournament and 4 p.m. will see the Cirque Stupendo show at the KSB stage. The Little People’s Sanctioned Pedal Pull will take place at 6 p.m. at the learning center shelter house with registration at 5:30 p.m.
Animal shows consist of the 8:30 a.m. beef show in the show barn.
The night’s grandstand entertainment is the demolition derby at 7 p.m. Jake McVey will perform at 9 p.m. in the entertainment tent.
Sunday the fair begins to wrap up with a non-denominational church service at 8 a.m. at the learning center. At noon there will be an antique tractor pull. The ATV mudbog will take place at 1 p.m. in the pit area. The local street truck pulls start at 5 p.m.
Animal shows include the 4H dog show at 10:30 a.m., the open beef show at 2 p.m. and the open sheep show at 6:30 p.m.
The Junior Agriculture Livestock Auction will take place in the show barn at 9 a.m. Monday.