85th Marion County Fair plans family fun events for Saturday too

? Planners blend new events with tradition.

An assistant to the judge takes the leash from Morgan Gaines of Peabody during the obedience portion of the 4-H Dog Show Saturday morning at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro. The show was the first 4-H event prior to the official start of the Marion County Fair today. A second 4-H event, the annual horse show, followed Sunday evening in the rodeo arena. In addition to the 4-H competitions, organizers have planned nightly entertainment for people of all ages. Patty Decker / Free Press
An assistant to the judge takes the leash from Morgan Gaines of Peabody during the obedience portion of the 4-H Dog Show Saturday morning at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro. The show was the first 4-H event prior to the official start of the Marion County Fair today. A second 4-H event, the annual horse show, followed Sunday evening in the rodeo arena. In addition to the 4-H competitions, organizers have planned nightly entertainment for people of all ages. Patty Decker / Free Press
For years, Saturday at the Marion County Fair was by in large a ?wait for the evening demo derby? day.

But the 85th edition of the fair, which runs from July 22-25 at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro, continues the change begun a year ago to make Saturday a mostly free fun day for families and youth.

The makeover in 2014 when the annual fair parade was moved from Wednesday evening to Saturday morning.

This year, the parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with ?Blue Jeans & Country Dreams? as its theme. The route begins at North Main, turns at D Street, then proceeds to the fairgrounds.

Following the parade, family can participate in a growing lineup of events. All buildings will be open to visit with vendors, view exhibits or grab a bite to eat at the Foods or 4-H buildings or at the arena concession stand

4-H members will be showcasing livestock champions in the barns, then at 11 a.m., there will be inflatable jousting and football toss with the Kansas Army National Guard located outside the 4-H Building.

Local county celebrities will again be trying their hand at the popular goat-milking contest in the Pavilion beginning at 11:30 a.m.

At noon, mechanical bull riding will be offered in the arena area. A small participant fee will be charged for each ride.

If you prefer to cool off on a potentially hot day, the Wet ?N Wild event will return to the sledding hill south of the rabbit barn. Also BYOT (bring your own box turtle) races will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Pavilion barn, with box turtle check-in at 12:15.

Following the conclusion of turtle races, there will be sailboat races for kids.

Starting at 1:30 p.m., teams will test their abilities in the Barn?yard Olympics, competing for bragging rights in ag-related tasks.

This year, the fair is hosting its first dodge ball tournament. It will begin at 2 p.m. at the city tennis courts located just south of the fair arena. Interested teams of six players should arrive no later than 1:45 p.m. to register, or teams may register at: marioncountyfairks.org. Rules are posted on the website.

The 43rd annual Marion County Fair Demolition Derby will begin at 7 p.m.. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, a limited number of door prizes will be given away to kids who attend.

Evening entertainment

Prior to the Saturday finale, fairgoers can attend their favorite evening entertainment events:

? Wednesday: The Van De Creek Pedal Pull for kids age 4-12 will begin at 7 p.m. with registration starting at 6 p.m.

? Wednesday and Thurs?day: The Kraft Rodeo begins at 8 p.m. both days with a Mutton Bustin? event for kids age 6 and under 60 pounds, and a Calf Scramble for kids age 10 and under.

? Friday: The Truck & Antique Tractor Pull begins at 7 p.m. in the arena.