By Chris Johnson
The parking lots have been mowed, fences have been constructed, and projects are filling the barns and exhibit space.
What this means is the 161st Ogle County Fair is underway.
The fair will be held Wednesday, July 30 through Sunday, Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds on Limekiln Road west of Oregon.
Volunteers were hard at work with final preparations for the fair to get everything ready for the public.
The acrobatics pole for Galaxy Girl was raised Monday afternoon, said Ogle County Fair President Harlan Holm.
“Galaxy Girl will be doing aerial acrobatics on top of this 120 foot tall pole,” he said.
This is just one of the activities planned at the fair.
“The fair starts with livestock being checked into the fair,” said Holm. “Visitors can see the animals and then go view the antique tractors.”
Animal check-in is during the afternoon and early evening July 30.
The annual antique tractor show and parade is at 5 p.m. on July 30 followed by the antique tractor pulls at 6 p.m. at the grandstand.
These Wednesday events are free with paid fair admission.
Grandstand events continue on Thursday with a pair of tractor pulls.
There is a 1 p.m. afternoon tractor pull for $5 and an evening show at 7 p.m. for $10. A pit pass good for both shows is available for $20.
The Big Hat Rodeo returns to the grandstand on Friday evening.
Admission to the rodeo is $10.
Bone crunching twisted metal will be heard and seen during the annual demolition derby on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 or a pit pass is available for $20.
“Our new event this year is the Barnyard Olympics on Sunday,” said Holm. “This is an event that all ages can be a part of.”
The deadline to register for the Barnyard Olympics is Friday, Aug. 1, but Holm encourages interested teams to contact the fair office early.
The event is limited to the first 20 teams.
The Barnyard Olympics will be held at 11 a.m. and is free to watch.
All these events require paid fair admission.
Daily admission to the fair is $8 per person.
“Families have loved our all-you-can-ride admission to the fair,” said Holm. “For just $8 your ticket includes unlimited rides.”
Having the unlimited rides allows families to experience everything the fair has to offer.
Holm said the fair board made the decision a few years ago to include fair rides in the admission fee to simplify the cost structure of the fair.
For families looking for additional savings, Holm said discount tickets are available before the fair.
“Casey’s in Oregon, Stillman Valley, and Byron, have discounted tickets for sale,” said Holm.
Pre-sold tickets at Casey’s are $3 off gate admission and $2 off grandstand events.
There are several free shows available with paid gate admission.
Live music shows are held at the Lion’s Pavilion on Thursday, July 31, Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. These three music performances are free with fair admission.
“We also have a variety of free shows on the midway this year,” said Holm. “The Tim Dyson FMX Show is returning this year. We had him a few year’s ago and he was popular.”
Dyson does a variety of high flying motorcycle tricks.”
Magician Brian Holt will perform several shows on Friday and Saturday.
Signs at the fair will announce when all of these acts perform.
There will also be a non-denominational church service held Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m.
“Everyone is welcome to attend this service,” said Holm.
Visitors to the fair are encouraged to arrive early for grandstand events to ensure no action is missed.
Holm said the time waiting for the grandstand events can be spent checking out the carnival rides and 4-H exhibits.
The Ogle County Fair Queen was crowned July 19.
Katrina Lowry, 17, Oregon, was named the 2014 Fair Queen.
“I want to be Miss Ogle County because I am involved in the local 4-H,” she said during the July 19 pageant. “I like going out and meeting new people and talking to kids.”
Lowry will be busy as she will reign over the events at the fair and will be at the grandstand events and will walk around the exhibits talking to the kids.
The Little Miss and Mister, and Junior Queen pageants were scheduled for Wednesday July 30 at the Lion’s Pavilion at the Fair. The pageants are at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m.
The fair gates open July 30 at 2 p.m., July 31 and Aug. 1 at 7 a.m. and at 8 a.m. on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3.
The carnival rides will be open from 6-10 p.m. on Wednesday, 5-10 p.m. on Thursday, 3-10 p.m. on Friday, noon-10p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.
Some rides may be temporarily closed throughout the fair to allow the ride operators to have a break.
Visitors to the fair with questions should ask volunteers for assistance or stop in the fair office.
The fair office is located next to the grandstand.