County fair to offer new opportunities to participate

Kandy Prieb shows her calf-roping form during the Kraft Rodeo at the 2015 Marion County Fair. The rodeo is one of several events that encourages local participants to sign up. This year’s fair is July 27-31.
Kandy Prieb shows her calf-roping form during the Kraft Rodeo at the 2015 Marion County Fair. The rodeo is one of several events that encourages local participants to sign up. This year’s fair is July 27-31.
The 86th edition of the Marion County Fair offers more opportunities to be a participant, not just a spectator, when it arrives July 27-31 in Hills­boro.

“From the young to the young at heart, you’ll find five days filled with family fun, good food, friendly folk and a variety of entertainment,” said Kelli Savage, fair manager.

New derby options

Heading the list of new opportunities for participation is the fair’s most popular spectator event: the demoli­tion derby on Satur­day night.

This year’s lineup of events will debut a 3-Man Team Derby, a Youth Lawn Mower Derby and a Kids Power Wheel Derby.

The new events will join the annual crowd favorites: the “Semi-Mod” Derby and the combined Figure 8 and Junior Figure 8 races.

The action begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30, in the fairgrounds arena.

Local participation is strongly encouraged, according to Savage.

“The demo derby has a dedicated team of sponsors that have assisted the fair board in providing a successful and fun demo derby for over the past 40 years,” she said.

“Thanks to the kindness of some of our fair sponsors, a limited number of special door prizes will be given away to kids who attend the demo derby.”

The 3-Man Team Derby, for men and women age 16 and older, is limited to eight teams. Each team will enter three cars, all painted the same color and pattern.

The Youth Lawn Mower Derby is open to drivers 12 to 16 years of age who will be driving riding mowers with front-mounted factory motors.

The youngest participants, age 3-10, can compete in the Kids Power Wheel Derby. They will compete in two divisions, age 3-5 and age 6-10. No entry fee is required for this classification

The Kids Power Wheel Derby is a timed event. All cars will be outfitted with four balloons, one attached at each corner of the car. The goal is to be the last car running with balloon(s) in tact when time runs out.

Each competition classification has detailed rules and requirements to keep these events as safe and fun as possible.

More open classes

In another effort to involve more people, fair planners have expanded the open-class divisions for youth and adults interested in displaying their hobbies and avocations.

New divisions this year include Barn Quilt, Legos and Lego Kits and Plant Your Pot (container garden).

The winner of the Barn Quilt division will qualify to compete at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson this September.

Lego engineers will have a division completely dedicated to their craft. Age divisions will now include children ages 5 and under, so they can display their design and engineering skills, too.

Plant Your Pot gives plant enthusiasts an opportunity to show off their talent at designing a container garden. Designers should plan on using one 14-inch container, three to five plant varieties, and incorporate the fair theme into their arrangement.

Kids pedal pull

Another popular event for kids the pedal-tractor pull open to children ages 4 through 12.

The top three finishers in their respective age groups will be eligible to compete at the 2016 Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. Pre-registration begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 30, with the event starting at 6 p.m.

The pedal-tractor pull will be located between the 4-H and Foods building at the fairgrounds. Contes­tants are encouraged to wear close-toed shoes and no flip-flops.

Rodeo-related fun

The two-night Kraft Rodeo welcomes local entrants to compete in the fair arena at 8 p.m. on both Wednesday, July 27, and Thursday, July 28.

Event sponsors support all aspects of the rodeo, including saddle bronc, barrel racing, bull riding and steer wrestling, to name a few. A special addition to the rodeo each night will be the Silver Buckle Drill Team from McPherson.

Kids can get in on the action, too, with the Mutton Bustin’ and Calf Scramble. The first five kids to register each night for Mutton Bustin’ will participate free, thanks to sponsorship. All others will pay a small fee.

Mutton Bustin’ participants must be at least 6 years of age and weigh less than 60 pounds. Calf Scramble participants need to be age 10 or younger.

Awards will be given to all Mutton Bustin’ and Calf Scramble participants, with special awards going to top place finishers.

For more information about rodeo participation, or to register, call Steve Kraft at 620-286-5428. Tickets for one night or a two-night rodeo can be purchased at the arena ticket office.

Truck & tractor pull

Local participants can compete for prizes and brand bragging rights in the Truck & Antique Tractor Pull that begins 7 p.m. Friday, July 29, in the fair arena.

Several tractor divisions will be offered. Registration of trucks and tractors begin at 5 p.m. with a drivers’ meeting at 6:45 p.m.

For entry information, call Myron Regier at 620-367-8277 or visit marioncountyfairks.org.

Fair parade

Local participation is always welcomed for the annual fair parade, which has been scheduled this year for a 6 p.m. start Friday, July 29, with the theme, “Bushels, Bales & Tails.”

The parade route begins on North Main to D Street, then proceeds to the fairgrounds. Locals can participate by entering a float, a decorated bicycle, an antique vehicle, or playing in the high school band. Entry forms for the parade can be found on the fair website.

At 6:30 p.m., Sky­walkers Gymnastics will be demonstrating their skills in the Commercial Building and at 6:45 p.m. the McPherson Bag Pipe Band will be performing a 15-minute concert on the fairgrounds.

Dodge ball tourney

On Saturday, July 30, the dodge ball tournament returns for its second year. It will begin at 2 p.m. at the city tennis courts. Teams of six players should arrive no later than 1:45 p.m. to register, or teams can register at: marioncountyfairks.org Rules for the event are also posted on the fair website.

Sunday family fun

Following a community worship service featuring Wild Horse Ministries on Sunday, July 31, the afternoon offers a variety of family day events.

The fun begins at noon with a children’s petting zoo, including a variety of baby animals: bunnies, kids, lambs, piglets, goslings, ducklings, kittens, along with miniature donkeys or miniature pony rides (free), alpacas and a variety of birds.

The popular Celebrity Goat Milking Contest will be at 1 p.m in the Pavilion, featuring celebrities from around the county.

Spring frog races and sailboat races will follow around 2 p.m. in the Pavilion. At 2 a water balloon fight will take place in conjunction with the Wet ‘N Wild Slide at the sledding hill south of the rabbit barn.