By Paul Downer, Community Editor
From grizzly bears and giraffes to demolition derbies, carnival rides to live music and displays, the 101st Carver County Fair is a spectacle that area residents won’t want to miss Aug. 8-12 this year.
For the price of a $6 daily pass or a $25 seasonal pass, visitors from the age of 7 and up can take in all the attractions, and those under age 6 get in free.
Daily events at the Fair this year will include multiple shows from the new Welde’s Big Bear Show with times TBA, carnival rides through Gold Star Amusements on the Midway, pony and camel rides, an exotic petting zoo featuring a new baby giraffe, and pig races.
The Funtime Funktions Spin Zone will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the Education Building, and the Spin Zone Kiddie Parade will take place daily at 5 p.m.
Other ongoing events include programs by the Carver County Historical Society, various displays on Machinery Hill, bingo and more.
Below are a few of the special events that visitors can plan to see during this year’s Fair.
Wednesday, Aug. 8
The main grandstand event on the first day of the fair is an ATV pull competition. Spectators can watch the event without paying any additional admission price to enter the grandstand.
In the Entertainment Center, the headlining act of the evening is the Johnny Holm Band, which will play a set from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. That performance is only for those age 21 and over with identification.
Other performers around the fairgrounds on Wednesday include Ragtown at 4 p.m. and Michael Elsenpeter at 9 p.m., both on the Patio. Also playing in the Entertainment Center will be 73 Paces at 4:30 p.m.
Ride specials will be offered for carnival enthusiasts on four out of the five days of the Fair. On Wednesday, the price of rides is reduced by one coupon between 3 and 6 p.m. The Midway opens at 3 p.m. on the Fair’s first day.
Thursday, Aug. 9
The second day of the Fair is designated "Senior Citizens Day." A special program taking place at 1 p.m. in the Entertainment Center will honor area Century Farms, and announce the Outstanding Senior Citizens for Carver County. In addition, all individuals nominated for that honor will be recognized during the ceremony.
The Motokazie Supercross is Thursday’s main attraction in the grandstand at 7 p.m., and G.B. Leighton headlines the music lineup for the day with a 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. set in the Entertainment Center.
Other performances during the day include Andy Austin on the Patio at 5 p.m. and the Dahmen Brothers following at 8:30 p.m. Other Entertainment Center performers during the day include Lyndon Peterson at 1 p.m. and Daisy and the Dukes at 4:30 p.m.
At the carnival, which opens at noon, riders can pay one price (wristbands) between noon and 5 p.m. to enjoy all the ups and downs, twists and turns they can handle for $22.
Friday, Aug. 10
Friday is set aside as "Military Appreciation Day" at the fair, and will include a veterans march through the fairgrounds at 2 p.m. and an honor program in the Entertainment Center at 2:30 p.m. All veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms and meet at the Bayview Elementary south parking lot four blocks north of the fairgrounds at 2 p.m. to begin the march. Veterans can contact Dan Steinhagen for more information at (952) 442-2769.
More motorized muscle will be on display in the grandstand at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening, as the tractor and truck pull events test the skill and power of area drivers and their machines.
Diamondback is the evening’s main musical performer in the Entertainment Center with an 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. slot.
Magician Matt Dunn will baffle crowds on the patio with an array of tricks at 5 p.m., and a dance with music by Good for Gary will take at 8:30 p.m. on the Patio.
Charlie Johnson Old Time plays in the Entertainment Center at 1 p.m. and Blurred Vision follows at 4:30 p.m. in the same location.
The ride special for the day is two riders for the price of one between 1 and 5 p.m. at the carnival, which opens at 1 p.m. for the day.
Saturday, Aug. 11
Saturday is "Kids Day!" at the Fair, and associated events include a kids’ pedal tractor pull at 11 a.m. in the Entertainment Center and dairy fun and games hosted by the county dairy princesses and ambassadors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oak Ridge by Machinery Hill.
There will also be a rooster crowing contest at 1 p.m. in the Show Tent, a diaper derby at 1 p.m. in the Entertainment Center (registration at 12:30 p.m.) and prize giveaways for those age 12 and under at the patio at 3:30 p.m. To be eligible for prizes, children must sign up at the Patio between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and be present when winners are announced.
Other Saturday attractions include a demolition derby at 6:30 p.m. in the grandstand and music in the Entertainment Center by Cindy Eggers at 2 p.m., the Bingos at 4:30 p.m. and Boogie Wonderland from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Kevin Lang and the Drifters will also perform on the Patio at 4 p.m., followed by the Unleaded Band at 8:30 p.m.
The Midway opens at noon for carnival rides, and there are no specials offered on Saturday.
Sunday, Aug. 12
The final day includes Church at the Fair at 10 a.m. in the Entertainment Center, featuring music by the Jolly Ramblers, and an amateur talent contest at 1 p.m. in the same location.
Dale Dahmen & the Beats is the main musical attraction in the Entertainment Tent from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and the Jazz Hounds Big Band will also be a popular performer at 3 p.m. on the Patio.
At noon the Midway opens for carnival rides, and the ride special for the day is pay one $22 price (wristbands) for all rides from 5 to 9 p.m.
With such a wide variety of events and attractions, area residents will have plenty to explore, watch and participate in at this year’s Carver County Fair!