SIDNEY – After a year in which the Shelby County Fair was greatly scaled back, the Fair is returning to its full grandeur this year with the return of favorite attractions and the addition of new offerings.
“It’s very exciting,” Fair Board President Eric Garber said of the Fair, which will run from July 25 through July 31. “I think it’s exciting for the board as well as, you know, even the ride company, the concessionaires that we have.”
In 2020 the Fair was limited to Junior Fair exhibitions and just a few vendors as the COVID-19 pandemic led to restrictions on fairs and festivals throughout Ohio. But this year the Fair is a full-go with the return of camping, shows, rides and a host of vendors.
The Fair will kick-off Sunday with a preview day, which features a reduced admission rate of $5 compared to the normal daily rate of $9. Rides won’t operate on Sunday, but fairgoers will have several shows to keep them entertained.
New for the 2021 Fair, Dirt Drag Racing will begin with practice at 2 p.m. and racing at 3 p.m. Sunday at the grandstand. The drag racing will include all-terrain vehicles, trucks and side-by-sides.
Starting at 4 p.m. Sunday will be the Little Mr. & Miss Shelby County Fair Fun Pageant in the Free Entertainment Tent. Registration for the competition, for boys and girls ages 3 to 5, is open until 3 p.m. Sunday; entry forms are available on the Fair website and at the Shelby County Fairgrounds Secretary’s Office.
Also on Sunday will be the Junior Fair King/Queen Contest at 5 p.m. and the 24th annual Cruise In, with Cruise-In registration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Team Zoom dog stunt show will be held every day of the Fair. Shows will be at 4, 6:30 and 9 p.m. the Sunday through Friday of the Fair and 3 and 5:30 p.m. on the Saturday of the Fair.
Also featured throughout the week will be the All-American Petting Zoo, which will include ponies, zebras, a camel, pigs, goats, chickens, birds and more.
Music in the Free Entertainment Tent will include Haywired at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Orbinson Hill at 8 p.m. Wednesday, T-102 Country Star Playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Nashville Crush at 8 p.m. Saturday.
On the final day of the Fair there will be Back To Back Truck Pulls and the Smash It Demolition Derby; there will be a $2 charge to enter the grandstand. The Fair Board completed a new pit for the demolition derby that will debut this year.
Another change that some fairgoers will notice is improvements to the camping areas, including new layouts and upgraded electrical systems. Camping spots for the 2021 Fair are almost full, Garber said.
“It’s going to be full,” he said. “It’s going to be a great Fair this year.”
The Shelby County Fair has seen a lot of vendors interested in attending this year, including many vendors new to the Fair as they look to make up lost revenue from last year. New dining options will include a Mexican food truck and a hamburger that uses doughnuts for its bun.
Returning this year will be the dollar lunch program. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, people can enter the Fairgrounds to eat lunch for up to one hour. They’ll pay full admission to enter but will get back all but $1 of the admission price once they leave.
And thanks to sponsorships from Wilson Health and Schwan’s, some patrons will be able to enter the Fairgrounds for lunch and get all their money back. The companies will pay to reimburse the $1 for a set number of patrons each day.
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