Next Wednesday, the Lincoln County Fair will kick off its 129th year.
As Fair president Dale Christiansen explains, set-up and preparation for the event has been a work in progress since mid-June.
“Our set-up really begins right alongside the rodeo, being we use the same fencing during the fair as they do,” he said. “Then around the first of July is when we really get down to being busy. We have a five man crew this year that has put in several 12-16 hour days. We are caught up now as of this week, but next week it will be back to the grind when tents and equipment start rolling in. We have a good crew who really work hard to get everything ready.”
Along with the return of the many 4-H and livestock exhibits fair goers have come to expect every year, Mr. Ed’s Magical Midway will also return this year to provide carnival entertainment.
“We were pretty happy with them last year.” Christiansen said. “They had a few of their bigger rides go down, but other than that everything went very well and everything is looking good with them this year. We ordered some new rides, so we are pretty excited about that.”
This year’s unlimited wristband special will be on Thursday, July 23 from 12-5 p.m. The cost will be $20, or $17 in advance. Ride tickets are $1.50 through the remainder of the fair and are valid all week.
Of all the new additions this year, the “Morris Family Elephant Encounter” will likely be the largest.
“They will be coming up from Florida with a couple different species of elephants and will be doing performances as well as educational and informative presentations every day of the fair, sort of like the tigers we had last year.”
The shows will be free, however Christiansen would like to point out there will be a free-will donation pail set up for audience members who may be interested in supporting the show.
“We are very lucky to have found some generous sponsors this year,” Christiansen explains. “We do our best to bring new additions every year, but attractions like these sure do not come cheap.”
Other new additions to the fair this year include Bull Falls Brewery, who will be sponsoring the entertainment tent. Several new entertainment acts to the fair will be performing in the tent, including America’s Party Band and Three Beers to Dubuque.
Another fixture returning once again this year is that of country music act Geoff Landon and the Wolfpack.
“They have been coming back every year since I have been president,” Christiansen adds. “They just do such a great job and our crowds love them, so we keep inviting them back.”
Overall, Christiansen appears excited about this year’s festivities and optimistic about the future.
“Our exhibit numbers are up in both 4-H and open class, so we are pretty happy with that. We are also already laying down the groundwork for our 130th anniversary next year. We are hoping for a grandstand so we can do something a little special,” he explained.
“I am cautiously optimistic about what the future holds now that the city has taken ownership of the ground,” Christianson continued. “At this point it is a big unknown for us, but is still better than the ‘known’ we have been dealing with for so many years. I honestly feel the city has the best of intentions with the fairgrounds and it will be interesting to see what happens next. We have seen the writing on the wall for the last 10 years, it was pretty clear what the county’s intentions were.”
Getting a new grandstand structure in place is a high priority for the fair, Christianson said.
“From our side of things, we need to come up with some sort of grandstand seating facility, so we can bring back more shows and bigger shows like motorsports and so on. We also need to upgrade our bathrooms. Aside from that, it will come down to proper upkeep and maintenance. The current state of our fairgrounds is tired and haggard. A coat of paint and blacktop would go a long way in making them more presentable.”
The following is the entertainment schedule for the 2015 Lincoln County Fair. All shows 7:30 p.m.-close.
Wednesday-America’s Party Band
Thursday: Three beers to Dubuque,
Friday: Geoff Landon and the Wolfpack
Saturday: Star Six Nine Band
Sunday: 12-3:30 Irene Keenan Jr
3:30-7:30 Brian “B-Mac” McLaughlin