Sights, sounds of county fair fill the air

Interactive exhibits for kids, an apple-pie baking contest, a state-qualifying demolition derby and the return of an antique tractor pull are some of the fresh ingredients added to this year?s Marion County Fair planned for July 28-31 at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

With the theme ?Apple Pies & Family Ties,? the good times officially begin Wednesday with a parade through downtown Hillsboro starting at 6:30 p.m.

At 7 p.m. the annual Van De Creek Pedal Pull kicks off for children, with the new apple-pie baking contest and silent auction under way from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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The first of two sessions of the annual Kraft Rodeo, based in Abbeyville, follows at 8 p.m. in the fairgrounds arena. In addition to the traditional events for adults, the itinerary will include Muttin Bustin? and a calf scramble for kids age 10 and under.

The Kraft Rodeo resumes at 8 p.m. Thursday night with the same auxiliary events for kids age 9 and under. Admission is $6 per night for adults (or $10 for both nights), $5 for children age 6 to 12, and no charge for children 5 years and younger.

On Friday, the antique tractor pull kicks off in the arena. Entries will range from tractors straight off local farms to modified and repowered tractors in the open class.

The fair climaxes at 7 p.m. Saturday evening with the annual demolition derby, which has become the biggest attraction of the fair. This year, the derby has joined the Championship Demolition Derby Association, and the top two winners automatically qualify for a statewide derby this fall. Local admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children age 6 to 12, and no charge for children 5 years and younger.

Prior to the derby?s championship heat, the fire departments of Marion County will be sponsoring a fireworks display. The show debuted last year to rave reviews.

Each night of the fair, Pride Amusements from Galena will open its carnival rides and games to all ages, and fairgoers can choose from a variety of concessions and food vendors as they take in the various 4-H, craft and commercial exhibits.

On Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., free airplane rides will be available for the kids at the Hillsboro Airport, just a stone?s throw away from the fairgrounds.

For more information about the events of the 2010 Marion County Fair, call 620-381-0109.

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