Prepare for the fair

Because the biggest carnival ever requires the biggest amount of space ever, residents and guests may encounter the biggest inconvenience ever as they approach the Marion County Fairgrounds next week on Hillsboro?s four-lane D Street.

Three blocks of the street adjacent to the fairgrounds will be blocked off to accommodate Wagner?s Carnival from some time Monday, July 25, to allow for set-up, until sometime Sunday, July 31.

By extension, vehicles heading south on Cedar or Date streets will not be able to access D Street.

Fair organizers believe the inconvenience will be worth it, considering the fair wasn?t going to have a carnival at all this year?and perhaps ever again, according to Steph?anie Richmond, fair manager.

A representative from Wagner?s Carnival called out of the blue in January, she said, to say it had an open weekend that coincided with the county fair. By early March, an agreement was in place.

?They had a choice of going to Wichita or coming to Hills?boro,? Richmond said. ?They decided Hillsboro was going to be easier to work with, so they?re headed our direction.

?It was pretty amazing that another company would call us up, given the size that they are.?

Wagner?s Carnival is expected to provide 15 to 17 rides among the 30 or so attractions which also include games based on luck and skill and a variety of food concessions.

About 33,000 square feet was needed to accommodate all the attractions, according to the fair board. The three blocks of D Street helped considerably, but the carnival also will extend into the open area west of the Commercial Building usually occupied by farm equipment.

Making adjustments

Hillsboro police chief Dan Kinning said his department will be making a few adjustments, considering the size of the carnival.

?The main thing we?re doing is trying to keep a fire lane open so we can get officers from one place to another,? he said. ?Also, we?re going to have extra personnel and vehicles out. Because of the size of the carnival, we?re expecting more people and we?ll have a bigger area to cover.?

Ben Steketee, Hillsboro fire chief, said the closed section of D Street did isolate one resident who lives in the middle of the block between Birch and Cedar streets and has no alley access.

Steketee said access for the resident and for emergency vehicles was arranged with the owner of the commercial property directly to the east of the residence, providing access to Birch.

As for workload, Kinning said preparing for the fair parade is the biggest challenge. ?It usually takes the whole department and then some,? he said.

As usual, the Marion County Sheriff will augment local officers with personnel during the week of the fair. The parade, which will officially signal the opening of the fair, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17.

This year?s parade route will return to Main Street, starting at Third Street and then moving south to D. From there, organizers say parade participants will turn west to Ash, where the route will end.

?My concern is the bigger tractors and equipment aren?t going to fit down the side streets,? Kinning said. ?I?m not even sure they?re going to fit down Ash Street if there?s oncoming traffic. We may have to let them turn (east) on D toward Industrial Road.?

The parade will carry the theme of this year?s fair, ?Cows and Luaus.?

New features

In addition to the familiar evening entertainment options during the fair?rodeo on Wednesday and Thursday, the antique tractor pull on Friday and the demolition derby and fireworks show on Saturday?this year?s lineup of activities includes a few new options.

The Sound of the Heartland Ensemble, a Newton-based chapter of the Sweet Adelines Inter?national organization, will perform the characteristic acappella barbershop-style vocal music at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday near the fairgrounds pavillion.

The performance will be free, with the opportunity to gather donations to help defray travel expenses.

Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Spur Ridge Vet Hospital from Marion will host a ?Horse Heath-A-Palooza? workshop for horse owners in the Scout House located in Memorial Park, which is adjacent to the fairgrounds. (See Page 13 for details.)

The workshop is free, but participants are asked to RSVP to Spur Ridge by calling 620-381-2100 by July 25.

Also new this year:

? A quilt show in the Com?mer?cial Building is expected to draw between 40 and 45 entries; the quilts will be judged along with other open class exhibits Wednes?day morning.

? A division for trucks is being added to the antique tractor pull scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.

?We?re hoping to bring in more area participation and competition into the arena,? Richmond said.

Plea for support

Richmond encourages people from the county and beyond to support Wagner?s Carnival to increase the possibility of having a carnival at future fairs.

She said word of the carnival?s financial experience in Marion County will get around to other carnival companies.

?If it?s good, they?re going to say this is a great place to go,? she said. ?If they have a place that they?re not having good luck at, that?s going to be talked about also.?

The fair board is networking with county 4-H and FFA groups to sell advance tickets for a share of the receipts.

?A lot of them are excited to be doing it,? Richmond said of the groups.

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When the Marion County Fair hosts the largest carnival in its history later this month, local 4-H clubs and FFA chapters will benefit financially from advance-ticket sales.

The Marion County Fair Association is encouraging people to buy advance tickets for the carnival because Wagner?s Carnival will be donating 10 percent of the sales receipts to those two youth organizations.

Advance tickets are on sale now through July 27 for $15 each at local banks and grocery stores. An advance ticket enables the holder to unlimited carnival rides on one night of the fair.

Advance tickets will need to be exchanged for a wristband at the carnival ticket booth.

Ticket prices will increase to $20 once the fair begins, July 27. Individual tickets also will be sold for $1 each, with one to four tickets necessary per ride.

Advance carnival tickets can be purchased at the following locations around the county:

? Burns: Community National Bank.

? Florence: Cottonwood Valley Bank.

? Goessel: Citizens State Bank

? Hillsboro: Central National Bank, Hillsboro State Bank, Dale?s Supermarket, Vogts? Hometown Market.

? Lincolnville: Pilsen State Bank.

? Marion: Marion National Bank, Central National Bank, Tampa State Bank.

? Peabody: Peabody State Bank, Peabody Market.

? Tampa: Tampa State Bank.

For more information about Wagner?s Carnival go to wagnerscarnival.com.

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