From exhibits to the midway, it's all at the fair

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Fair board invites the community to "Celebrate in '08!" when the annual event kicks off Wednesday with open gates at 2 p.m.

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Fair board invites the community to "Celebrate in '08!" when the annual event kicks off Wednesday with open gates at 2 p.m.

As always, the fair will feature agricultural, domestic and industrial exhibits from throughout the county as it offers a little something for everyone, from antique tractors to tasty treats on the midway. This afternoon and Wednesday morning will find many fuzzy, four-legged friends of 4-H and FFA making themselves at home on the fairgrounds for various showcases and exhibitions. Judges will sit down today with animal owners to discuss and judge their entries in a conference-style setting.

According to fair secretary Cheryl Johnson of Pennock, additions to this year's fair include photography competitions for "junior citizens," and increased categories in goat and sheep competitions. Also, green thumbs will turn up to find more FFA horticulture categories in which they can compete, she said.

The Master Gardeners' crayon-colored garden theme will be complemented by the addition of a scarecrow contest. The public is invited to bring in personally styled scarecrows for competitive consideration Wednesday.

"Something else we're doing for the first time this year is 'The Lucky Shot' putting competition," Johnson said. "People can qualify between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily, and then three finalists will be chosen Saturday at 6 p.m. to compete for a whopping $5,000 grand prize."


Another addition to this year's fair is the guitar giveaway courtesy of Fat Freddy's in Willmar, Johnson said.

"Thursday night we'll be giving away an acoustic guitar during the talent contest," she said, "and Saturday we'll give away an electric guitar during the Big Machine concert." To qualify, register at Fat Freddy's Music or on the day of the giveaway at the fair.

But for those thrill-seeking Kandi kids of all ages, the midway rides simply can't be beaten. By purchasing a daily wrist band for $18 at the carnival's entrance, fair-goers can enjoy unlimited rides during specific hours each day. The hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A new wrist band must be purchased each day.

Individual season gate passes are available for $12 at the secretary's office on the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds, which allow holders to come and go as they please throughout the four-day event. A season car pass is also available for $4, to pinch some pennies in the parking lot.

Free Kandiyohi Area Transit transportation services will be available between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Call 320-214-7433 to schedule a ride in advance and the cost will be covered.

In addition, a free shuttle bus will be picking people up from the Willmar Senior Center and dropping them off at the fairgrounds every 20 minutes from 4 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, as well as from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday.

Scooter lovers should take note that the use of all motorized vehicles on the fairgrounds during the week of the fair will be limited to the Kandiyohi County Fair board and staff. All other private units may be driven to the grounds, but will not be permitted past the gate for insurance purposes.

Also, no dogs or other pets will be allowed on the grounds for the duration of the fair. Certified service animals or animals in training for service are exempt, as are dogs or other pets participating in fair exhibitions.


Johnson sent out some kudos and congratulations to the unsung heroes of the Kandiyohi County Fair. "The Sentenced to Serve crew has been out here cleaning our buildings, working on our grounds, preparing the fair for the last couple of weeks," she said.

"They've worked real hard as always, washing windows and cutting weeds and mopping floors. ... They do a great job every year without receiving the thanks they deserve."

The fairgrounds are located off Seventh Street Northwest in Willmar. For more information, visit or call the fair office at 320-235-0886.

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