County fair is ready to thrill

4-Hers around the county are working furiously to get their animals ready to show while Mason jars are being filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, jellies and jams.

That can only mean one thing. The greatest show in Mille Lacs County is right around the corner.

The 2012 Mille Lacs County Fair — the 121st annual — will take place Aug. 9-12. It’s one of the few places left where you can enjoy four days of fun for just six bucks. And if you’re 60 or older, you won’t even have to pay $6. Senior citizens’ day is Friday, Aug. 10 and individuals 60 and over pay only $3 admission between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Kids six and younger — they get in free.

There’s a lot to look forward to at this year’s fair, according to Judy Gerth, the fair’s manager.

The grandstand will be full of action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the fair. The tractor pull is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, stock car races will take to the track on Friday and the popular demolition derby will thrill people of all ages on Saturday. Additional admission fees apply.

Kids of all ages look forward to the Stipes Carnival Show each year and 2012 will be no exception.

The carnival starts at 3 p.m. Thursday, followed by three days with special discounts. Friday, an armband will cost $20 for rides from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday will see an early bird discount from 9 a.m. to noon, while Sunday armbands will again be $20 from the hours of 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The All American Lumberjack Show — a crowd favorite in 2011— returns to the Mille Lacs County Fair this year. There are two shows Friday, three shows Saturday, and another two shows Sunday. The lumberjacks will also host kids lumberjack sports camps on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The camps are free.

Ms. Jazee, the balloonologist, will be on hand at the fair and the Princeton Fire department will give fire-fighting demonstrations. If you’re looking for more competitive fun, there’s always the action in the BINGO tent from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Mille Lacs County Fair stage is also a place for great fair-time entertainment and this year will be no exception.

Alex Parenteau and the Silver Wings Band will take the stage Thursday at 8 p.m. The Hangfire Band will perform at 8 p.m. Friday. The Devon Worley Band will entertain Saturday night at 8 p.m. All three bands will perform on the stage immediately west of the fairgrounds entrance. There will be a square dance demonstration 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday during senior citizens day.

On Sunday you can enjoy Princeton’s own Bistodeau Band at 11:30 a.m. At 1 p.m. fiddlers will be in hot competition in the Gene Gerth Memorial 8th Annual Fiddle Contest.

Other fair entertainment includes the annual talent show at 6 p.m. Saturday on the main stage, and the draft horse exposition Sunday at 1 p.m. in the horse arena.

From 3-5 p.m. Friday you can enjoy a cultural dance demonstration. Saturday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., Tricia and the Toonies will entertain on the main stage. This act is a combination of music, puppetry and laughs that will surely entertain all age groups. The 4-H Share the Fun acts take to the stage Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Animal showing gets underway as soon as the fair opens Thursday, with the goat show at 8:30 a.m. The swine show follows at 9 a.m. and the poultry show at 12:30 p.m. Sheep will be shown at 4 p.m., as will the lambs. Then the 4-Hers will let their guard down a bit and partake in the annual 4-H Olympics, set for 6:30 p.m.

4-H and FFAers will face off in the tractor driving contest at 1 p.m. Thursday. The much-anticipated pedal tractor pull is set for 2 p.m. in the main stage area.

On Friday, the 4-H beef and dairy show gets underway at 8:30 a.m., followed by the horse show at 9 a.m. The popular 4-H fashion revue is at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. the 4-H show animal entrants get rewarded for their hard work at the 4-H animal market auction.

The show isn’t over Saturday. At 8 a.m. the horse show will be held in the horse arena while the dairy show will be going strong in the pavilion at 9 a.m. A llama show follows at 11 a.m. The afternoon finishes with round robin showmanship at 2 p.m.

Sunday is one of the most popular days at the fair. The day kicks off with a 10 a.m. church service on the fair’s main stage. That’s the same time as the showmanship fun show in the pavilion building.

The open class beef show and draft horse fun show are at 11 a.m., as is the open class dairy show. The popular free picnic lunch for the first 750 through the gate is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Picnickers are asked to bring a personal care item for SWAN (Stuff We All Need), an organization that gives soaps, shampoos, etc. to people in need.

The last animal show of the fair is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with the entertaining dog agility demonstration.

The annual Century Farm and Farm Family of the Year recognitions will be at 6 p.m. Saturday night.