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Kandiyohi County Fair mostly sticks with tradition for 2015

By Jacob Belgumjbelgum@wctrib.com WILLMAR -- In a changing world, the 2015 Kandiyohi County Fair will mostly stick to tradition during its annual four-day fling. While convention is one of its greatest virtues, some things will change, including ...

By Jacob Belgum
jbelgum@wctrib.com
WILLMAR - In a changing world, the 2015 Kandiyohi County Fair will mostly stick to tradition during its annual four-day fling.
While convention is one of its greatest virtues, some things will change, including a new grandstand event and a haunted house. (Watch for more on the haunted house in the Tuesday edition of the Tribune.)
Thought the fairgrounds on the north side of Willmar will be buzzing with activity during Tuesday’s Entry Day, the fair opens to the public at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Once again, Wednesday is Veterans Day at the fair, when veterans get in free from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The four-day event will end differently this year, though, with the National Tractor Pullers Association Tractor Pull occupying the grandstand Saturday night. It is the fair’s only new grandstand event.
Attendees can expect modern, high-powered machinery that will emit “a lot of smoke and a lot of noise,” according to Darrell Fostervold, president of the Kandiyohi County Fair Board.
Visitors must pay only gate admission to witness the fair’s first grandstand event, KRA stock car racing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Fair secretary Cheryl Johnson said organizers decided to make it free “just to promote racing and give people a chance to check it out.”
But more than automobiles will race this week. Swine will take their turn at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. all four days of the fair. Attendance is free with gate admission.
The Mega Jump Traveling BMX Stunt Show will be featured at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. all four days, allowing folks to attend it and the pig races consecutively. The bike riders came to the fair for the first time last year.
“That was an unbelievable show last year, they really did a good job,” Johnson said of the BMX group.
Both Fostervold and Johnson felt similarly about the rodeo-style bull ride, which is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 4-H Arena.
“We sell out every year,” Johnson said.
Tickets cost $5 and the fair sells 700 seats. More people were allowed to attend during its formative years when it was free, but the packed arena ruined the fan experience, according to Johnson.
She added that the bull ride not only pleases fans but the bulls’ riders themselves.
“The guy that runs (the Great Frontier Bull Riding Company) says he’s not sure why, if it’s the atmosphere and being inside of that arena, but the bulls perform really well,” Johnson said. “So riders want to come to our show.”
The riders may also be swayed by the allure of the champion’s shiny belt buckle and what Fostervold described as “a good chunk of money” for first place.
For the first time, the fair is offering a three-day wristband for paid grandstand events - both tractor pulls and the demolition derby - which offers an $8 value. That, along with the immeasurable benefit of not having to stand in line for tickets, gives hardcore fair folks a chance to enhance their experience.
The fairgrounds are located at 907 Seventh St. N.W. in Willmar along Foot Lake.

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