Fair to feature traditional, new events
Old traditions and new events will be featured at the 91st annual Marion County Fair starting Saturday in Hillsboro.
Fair association vice president Jennifer Moss is hoping for a decent turnout despite lingering pandemic fears.
“I understand if some people are afraid just because members are still unsure and all that, but I am hoping that everybody is able to come and see something,” she said
Judging will occupy most fair time until a parade 6 p.m. July 21.
The parade will lead into one of the new events for the year, a hot dog feed seeking to raise money to renovate a Hillsboro building.
“We’re trying to raise money to cover the expenses of upgrading that building,” she said, “so that we’re able to provide another service to the community to use for events like weddings and graduations.”
An all-terrain vehicle rodeo will stand in for the usual truck rodeo July 23. ATV riders will navigate an obstacle course as fast as they can for the rights to a trophy.
“It’s mostly for fun,” Moss said. “I don’t know if there’s any money involved. It’s mostly just seeing people drive fast and seeing who has got talent.”
A new event will be a barbecue contest open to anyone willing to cook.
The public will be able to taste-test the barbecue for an admission fee of $10 for adults and $5 for kids 5 and up. Their votes will determine a people’s choice award.
“I’m really excited about the barbecue contest,” Moss said. “The demolition derby always brings in a huge crowd, the ATVs are kind of new and hard to explain before you see it, but the barbecue contest speaks for itself. The people’s choice makes it seem like your vote actually matters, and the smack-talk is fun.”
Returning favorites include a hot dog and watermelon eating contest July 21, rodeos for the nights of July 21 and 22, and a corn hole tournament July 22. An ATV rodeo will be July 23. Food trucks and a demolition derby will be July 24.
A pedal pull will return with an increased age limit. Kids up to 13 years old may compete to allow kids whose last chance to participate was stopped by the pandemic last year.
Moss spoke about the time and effort that went into planning the fair.
“Because of last year, we’re not just thinking, ‘oh, this is gonna be a normal fair,’” she said. “We want to help people be comfortable and help provide this service while not pushing people’s boundaries.”
The pandemic influenced a decision to sell buttons as well as tickets for admission to individual events.
The button design was created by Hillsboro High School art student Charlie Major.
“You’ll have this button to remember the year where we were finally able to get out and about,” Moss said.