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Preparations underway for Kandiyohi County Fair; gates open Wednesday

Clay Conover / Tribune This barn at the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds in Willmar will be full of animals this week during the County Fair. Exhibits begin showing up Tuesday, and the annual event opens to the public Wednesday.

WILLMAR — The sound of doors opening and closing, the scraping of brushes on tarps and brooms on barn floors can all be heard from the central road of the fairgrounds in Willmar. The smell of cut grass fills the air as volunteers prepare the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds for the coming week's events.

Wednesday will bring different smells and sounds when vendors come to sell their goods and animals arrive to be presented.

The gates open at 11 a.m. Wednesday, when veterans will get in for free until 2 p.m.

"We have the Prairie Winds Band that's going to play for them and they get free lunch at noon," said Darrell Fostervold, president of the Fair Association. "We don't ask for any proof that they're a veteran. We believe they're a veteran. It's just respecting the people who have protected us for years and years."

On Tuesday, before gates open to the general public, there will be 4-H project judging. Members of 4-H will be showing off their livestock and other projects to judges from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Wednesday will have a poultry, rabbit and sheep judging and bull riding. Gates open at 8 a.m. Thursday, for the second day of the four-day fair, when goat, horse, swine and beef will be judged, and there will be a draft horse and antique tractor parade and a free sweet corn feed.

Friday will have a cow milking contest and the Music in Motion Horse Show.

Bingo, a Lego building contest and the National Tractor Pullers Association Tractor Pull will all be on Saturday, the final day.

Every day will feature music, food and exhibits.

Each day, a $1,000 cash prize will be given out by drawing at 10 p.m. Winners must be present to accept the prize.

Shuttle service will be provided from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday from Kandi Mall and the Willmar Community Center.

"The businesses in the area, they put in sponsorships, that is the only way we can make these expensive things run," Fostervold said. "You've got to have a little bit of help. Hopefully the bigger crowd will help us out this year (too)."

If You Go

What: Kandiyohi County Fair

When: Gates open at 11 a.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Where: Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds, Seventh Street Northwest, Willmar

Info: Admission for adults - $6

Senior citizens 55 and older Thursday only - $3

Students (K - 12) - $2

Children (Pre K) - Free

Cars and trucks - $2

To find out more information and see the schedule, go to