Fair’s evening entertainment to start with ‘controlled chaos’

Don’t look for a laid-back start to the evening entertainment booked for this year’s Marion County Fair, Aug. 8-11. Even a member of the group describes Wednesday’s featured stage act of Two for the Show as “controlled chaos.”

Of course, that group member calls himself C-R-A-Z-Y Dave, so consider the source.

The four-man group Two for the Show will bring their musical and comedy skills to the Marion County Fair at 8 p.m. on opening night for a free performance in the pavilion. This will be their first appearance at the fair, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday.

Two for the Show have appeared in the Grand Old Opry and the Gong Show, produced by Chuck Barris in Las Vegas. Their performances typically include country music and top tunes from the ’50s and ’60s, along with pantomimes and high-energy comedy routines, according to the group’s promotional flyer.

This year’s 71st annual fair officially kicks off earlier in the evening with the parade through downtown Hillsboro at 6:30 p.m. Parade organizers encourage open-class and 4-H entries to participate with floats, commercial entries, antique vehicles, demolition derby cars, bands, queens and public officials.

Participants do not need to preregister for the parade, which will assemble at Third and Main streets.

Entries will be judged according to the theme, “2001: A Fair Odyssey,” as well as for composition and presentation.

Following the parade, Emprise Bank of Hillsboro will host a watermelon feed from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Also at 7:30, students from Vicky’s School of Dance will perform in the pavilion.

Also making his first appearance at the Marion County Fair will be “Joker the Juggler” (a.k.a. Dennis Schafers of Topeka), who will roam the fairgrounds from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., talking one-on-one with children and making them balloon sculptures of hats, dogs and flowers. Of course, he does a lot of juggling along the way, too.

Wednesday also will mark the fair debut of another newcomer, “Over the Edge” rock climbing, which challenges the strength and dexterity of participants from young children to senior adults.

Terry and Teresa Shafer’s 24-foot-tall rock climbing wall be available starting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 7 p.m. on Thursday.

New acts and performers dominate Wednesday’s schedule, but the annual favorites take over on Thursday and continue through Saturday.

The 4-H Style Review will start at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, in the pavilion with free admission for all.

The fair’s two-evening rodeo, one of the most popular events of week, begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and is again inviting local entrants as well as professional rodeo cowboys to compete.

Events include bareback bronc and saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and bull riding. Kids can enter the Muttin’ Bustin’ competition or be in the Calf Scramble.

In Muttin’ Bustin,’ participants will ride sheep. For the Calf Scramble, they will attempt to remove ribbons from the tails of calves. On Thursday night, the Calf Scramble is open to children age 10 and under; on Friday, children age 11 to 14 can compete.

Kraft Rodeo Contractor of Abbyville will supply livestock for the rodeo.

This year’s schedule of evening entertainment also will close with a little “controlled chaos” when the fair’s most popular spectator event of all-the annual demolition derby-begins at 7 p.m. in the arena.

Now in its 29th year, the derby will begin with four preliminary heats. The two winners in each heat each will receive $100 and a trophy. The remaining contestants are eligible to compete in two consolation heats, where the top two winners will each receive $100 and a trophy and qualify for the championship heat.

The championship heat will feature the eight winners of the preliminary heats and the four winners of the two consolation heats. The top five finishers in the championship heat will receive cash prizes: $600 for first, $350 for second, $250 for third, $150 for fourth and $100 for fifth. The top three finishers will also receive trophies.

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