Fair brings back favorite events

The Allen County Fair returns next week, bringing back favorite events like music shows, dinners and more. The schedule, though, will be similar to last year as participants said they preferred a condensed timeline.

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July 14, 2021 - 9:21 AM

The Southwind Extension District staff will help participants at the Allen County Fair July 21-26. From left, intern Gabby Sharp, Extension agent Jennifer Terrell and 4-H program assistant MaKayla Stroud. Photo by Vickie Moss

The Allen County Fair will look a little bit different, and a lot like the same.

Next week’s fair will bring back favorite activities missing at last year’s pandemic-shortened event, while retaining some of the lessons learned.

The fair officially takes place July 21-26. Some pre-fair activities begin this weekend.

The format will follow the same condensed schedule as last year’s, which was intended to reduce the amount of time spent at any one place to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Turns out, everyone preferred the shortened schedule. 

The fair board and Southwind Extension District surveyed last year’s attendees, and the results offered a playbook of what to keep, what to bring back and what to change, Extension agent Jennifer Terrell said.

“They missed a few different events and those are back this year because we can safely do them,” Terrell said. “I was kind of surprised they liked the shorter schedule.”

As an example of how things are both different and the same, the board voted to keep the livestock sale on Sunday night but brought back the dinner preceding the sale. 

Gabby Sharp, a 4-Her who also is working as a summer intern for the Extension, explained why she and her colleagues prefer this year’s schedule.

“It didn’t feel as drawn out. If you don’t have as many projects, you’re not doing something every night,” she said. “It’s a little more compact, so maybe you are busier, but everything ran smoothly and went quickly. I think it was just the right amount because no one seemed to get overly stressed.”

Moira Springer talks about her chicken at the poultry show at last year’s fair.Photo by Vickie Moss

MUSIC, shows, contests and other activities return starting July 22.

Events include the Friends of 4-H Dinner and Fashion Revue, baked pie contest, Barnyard Olympics, Baby Barnyard, Kiwanis train rides, Mutton Busting, The Iola Rotary Club’s Smokin’ Hot Cars & BBQ, Picnic in the Park, pedal pull and a draft horse pull.

Instead of a traditional rodeo, the fair board voted to have a Bull Bash at the Rodeo Arena. The event will feature only bull riding. 

A full list of activities is available in a special magazine publication available at the Extension office, the Iola Register and other area businesses. 

Some of the activities begin a little earlier, with 4-H volunteers setting up Saturday. Early judging starts Sunday, with a dog show at 6 p.m. 

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