WAPAKONETA — From cheerleaders to square-dancing tractors, bull-riding to a demolition derby or tractor pulling, visitors to the 2021 Auglaize County fair will have plenty of free grandstand entertainment from which to choose when the fair kicks off its seven-day run today.
Add two nights of harness racing and an array of traditional livestock competitions, stir in some amusement rides and diet-busting culinary delights and you have the recipe for a fun-filled week.
Twelve months ago the Auglaize County fair board was geared up to stage their traditional event but the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to those plans just three days before the gates were set to open.
“We ended up having a junior fair only,” Fair Manager Ed Doenges said Friday. “It was okay, but it just wasn’t the same. There was still that excitement in the (livestock) barns, but when you walked outside the excitement was gone.”
This year marks a return to normalcy. Doenges said additions to this year’s fair include the Great Lakes Lumber Show at the south end of the midway and the Maria Stein Country Fest Tractor Square Dancing shows in front of a free grandstand on Monday evening.
Doenges said all entertainment at the fair is free with the price of a gate admission.
“It’s a great value. We’re excited about our fair and we want people to come out and share that excitement with us.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon today at the front gate of the fairgrounds will officially kick off the 2021 fair. At 5 p.m. a free cheerleading competition will be held in front of the grandstand.
Junior Fair activities begin at noon with a market broiler show, followed at 1 p.m. by the 4-H Style Review.
Monday is the first of two Senior Days (the other is Saturday) with senior citizens aged 60 and older admitted for $5.
The Adult and Pee Wee Showmanship competition will be held at 5 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by the crowning of the Junior Fair king and queen in the gospel tent.
Tractor square dancing will be held in front of the grandstand at 5:30 and 9 p.m. A kiddie tractor pull will take place between sessions.
Monday’s Junior Fair activities begin at 9 a.m. with the horse and pony and swine showmanship shows. Market goat and Boer breeding goat shows begin at 10 a.m.
Tuesday is Kid’s Day at the fair, with special pricing on amusement rides. It is also the first of two nights of harness racing beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a free grandstand. The Moon City Trot will be the featured card of the evening.
The Junior Fair rabbit show will be held at 9 a.m., followed at 10 a.m. by the Junior Fair dairy show and at 4 p.m. by the sheep breeding, showmanship and market lamb show.
A second night of harness racing at 6:30 p.m. in front of a free grandstand will highlight Wednesday evening’s activities at the fair, with Moon Walk Pace the featured attraction.
At 7 p.m. a homemade wine and beer judging will take place in the horticulture building. Also at 7 p.m. the T-102 County Star playoffs will be held in the entertainment tent.
On the Junior Fair schedule are the market hog show at 9 a.m., the beef breeding, feeder calf and beef showmanship events beginning at 2 p.m. and the horse contesting show starting at 6 p.m. The Junior Fair dairy and market steer shows cap the day starting at 7 p.m.
Thursday is Veterans Day at the fair, with all military veterans admitted free of charge. A Veterans Day program will be held at 6 p.m. near the commercial building.
The annual demolition derby, a perennial favorite, will be held in front of a free grandstand beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Junior Fair competitions begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with the poultry showmanship and breeding show, followed at 9 a.m. by the goat showmanship and dairy and pygmy goat show.
Highlighting Friday’s slate of events at the fair will be the first of two days of the Junior Fair livestock sale beginning at 9 a.m. Hogs, sheep and poultry will be sold to the highest bidder.
Bull riding will cap off the day at 7 p.m. in front of a free grandstand.
The fair concludes its seven-day run on Saturday with a tractor pull at 7 p.m. in front of a free grandstand.
The second and final day of the Junior Fair livestock auction begins at 9 a.m. with rabbits, goats, steers and dairy milk available to bidders.