WAPAKONETA — On Sunday, 170 years of tradition will be celebrated as the Auglaize County Fair kicks off this year’s 7-day run, bringing amusement rides, livestock shows, live music and other entertainment to the county fairgrounds in Wapakoneta from Sunday to Aug. 6.
The gates will open at 8 a.m. each day, and the festivities will officially commence with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Sunday. Steve Bushman, president of the Auglaize County Fair Board, said that there is a full lineup of attractions for all ages to enjoy this year.
“We have a whole lot for everyone in the family to come and see,” he said.
Amusement rides will open shortly after the ribbon-cutting and be open throughout the week. Daily ride passes will cost $20, but they can be purchased for $15 in a pre-sale that runs through Saturday. Individual ride tickets will also be available for purchase, and kids can ride for free on Tuesday.
Many of the festivities will be centered at the grandstand, where spectators will gather throughout the week to take in a wide range of entertainment offerings. This year’s schedule begins Sunday at 5 p.m. with a cheerleading competition that will round out the first day of the fair. The action will continue Monday at 7 p.m. with drag racing, followed by two evenings of harness racing set to take place Tuesday and Wednesday beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Later in the week, a demolition derby will be held Thursday at 7:30 p.m. A rodeo will be hosted Friday at 7 p.m., and this year’s lineup of entertainment will be finished off with a tractor pull Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The action will not be limited to the grandstand; other events will be hosted throughout the week at the entertainment and gospel tents. Highlights include a kid’s tractor pull Monday and the annual T-102 Country Star Playoff singing competition Wednesday, both starting at 7 p.m. in the entertainment tent. The gospel tent will feature live music throughout the week.
Marking the 170th-year anniversary of the Auglaize County Fair brings back childhood memories and a sense of intergenerational tradition for those involved.
“I’ve been going to the fair since I was a kid,” Bushman said, adding that his own children “can’t wait” for fair time to roll around each year. “One hundred and seventy years … it speaks for itself,” he said.
Childhood memories for longtime fair-goers will be sparked by a wide range of traditional fair food sold by local vendors. “From french fries and elephant ears to tenderloins and Italian sausage, there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” Bushman said.
Another annual tradition, the Junior Fair livestock auctions, will be held Friday and Saturday in the Piehl Arena. Goats, steers, rabbits, sheep, poultry and hogs will be available for bidding. Bushman said there was a “very good lineup for the Junior Fair exhibit” this year.
General admission tickets for this year’s fair cost $8, and children age 12 and under will be admitted free. Admission includes all free entertainment in the entertainment tent, gospel tent and grandstand events. A season pass for the whole week can also be purchased for $30.
There will be several days offering discounted admission costs. Seniors over the age of 60 will be admitted for $5 on Monday and Saturday, and veterans will be admitted for free on Thursday.
A full schedule of events and a listing of this year’s offerings can be found on the Auglaize County Fairgrounds website.