Parade to kick off 70th fair tonight

The Marion County Fair Association will officially kick off its 70th annual fair when the parade begins on Main Street tonight at 6:30 p.m.

A different carnival, a marionette and puppet show, and a concert by Kansas country singer Lorena Prater are just a few of the new attractions that planners hope will help families experience this year’s theme, “Fun at the Fair.”

Combine those events with the usual favorites-the parade, two-day rodeo and demolition derby-and the fun potential of this year’s event, set for Aug. 9-12, will be huge.

The fair dates have been adjusted slightly later this year to accommodate a new carnival. Lewellen Amusements will offer 12 rides and attractions from 4 p.m. to closing each day of the fair.

Their ticket options will be one ride for $2, a package of 10 tickets for $17 and, on Wednesday and Thursday, four hours for $12.

Fair activities actually began Monday with the free 4-H horse show in the fairgrounds arena.

Wednesday, the first official day of the fair, begins with open-class check in and judging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 4-H entry check-in and judging occurs at 10 a.m., and public viewing begins at 3 p.m.

The fairgrounds, including Commercial Building exhibits, will be open for viewing after the parade.

The parade through downtown Hillsboro will follow a different route this year. Instead of an east-west path along Grand Street, the bands, floats and other entries will take a north-south route along Main Street.

Following the parade, Emprise Bank of Hillsboro will host a watermelon feed. At 7:30 p.m., the team penning competition will begin in the arena, and rising country singer Lorena Prater will present her free concert in the pavilion.

Thursday’s schedule features the Chris Short Puppet Personalities Show at 3, 6 and 9 p.m. in the pavilion. The 4-H Style Review begins at 7:30 p.m. in the pavilion and the first night of the rodeo begins at 8 p.m. in the arena.

On Friday, an Ag Seminar on proper cattle vaccinations, featuring Jessica Laurin, a veterinarian from Marion, begins at 1 p.m. in the pavilion.

Friday is a big day for 4-H exhibitors with the showmanship contest beginning at 5 p.m. and the annual livestock sale starting at 6:30 p.m. The second day of the rodeo kicks off at 8 p.m., and will feature the crowd-pleasing events of Muttin’ Bustin’ and Calf Scramble for kids and Wild Cow Riding for adults.

At 9 p.m., guitarist Bret Boyer of McPherson will mark his return to the fair with a free concert at 9 p.m. in the pavilion.

On Saturday, the Young Eagles Airplane Association will offer free airplane rides for children ages 7 to 17 at the Hillsboro airport from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The fair climaxes with its biggest event, the annual demolition derby, which begins at 7 p.m.

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