There’s no better way to celebrate summer than visiting your county fair. The 2012 edition of the Palo Alto County officially begins its four-day run this Thursday, July 19, at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds in Emmetsburg. Along with 4-H and FFA livestock exhibits, there will be a variety of events and offerings to experience and see as part of an annual celebration of agriculture and community joining together.
While the first day of the fair actually occurs on Tuesday, July 17, with judging of 4-H exhibits, the public’s first opportunity to see the projects of the county’s 4-H and FFA youth will be on Thursday. With livestock entries arriving at the fairgrounds in the morning, the judging starts with the Dog Obedience Show in the pavilion at 10 a.m. Judging of Horticulture entries also begins at 10 a.m. with the opening of the exhibits building. All livestock entries are to be in their respective barns by 11 a.m. as well. Judging continues at 11 a.m. with the Rabbit Show, and the dogs will participate in the Dog Agility show at 1 p.m. Judging of livestock continues at 2 p.m. with the Poultry Show and is followed at 2:30 by the Dairy Show. After the Dairy show, the exhibitors get a chance to turn the tables on the judges in the Youth Livestock Judging Contest, which will begin at 4 p.m., giving the youth an opportunity to test their skills at judging animals on the hoof and then comparing their efforts with an impartial judge in an informal, educational setting.
An added treat for the fair this year will be the arrival of participants of the North Iowa Tractor Ride, sponsored by 98.7 KISS Country of Mason City. Some 200 tractor and riders will bring their machines to the fairgrounds Thursday afternoon, and will then depart on a two-day ride, leaving from the fairgrounds on Friday morning. The tractors will be on display Thursday afternoon and evening on the fairgrounds for the public to view and reminisce.
The youngest fairgoers get their chance to bask in the limelight at 6:00 p.m. in the livestock pavilion with the annual Baby Crawl and Toddler races, sponsored by the staff of the Emmetsburg Pizza Ranch. Registration for the baby crawl will begin at 5:30 p.m.Of course, it just isn’t a county fair without food and as always, there will be good food available at the fairgrounds. Thursday evening will be the annual Palo Alto County Extension Council Barbeque supper. Serving will begin at 5 p.m. and continuing until 7 p.m. at the Open Air Pavilion.
At 6 p.m. a meeting for participants in the North Iowa Tractor Ride will be held in the open air pavilion, and will be followed by the Clover Kid King and Queen contest on the stage in the open air pavilion, beginning at 7 p.m. Around 7:20 p.m. a brief program featuring some special recognitions and presentations will take place on the stage at the open air pavilion. The Fair Queen contestants will also be introduced and then the4-H Style Show, along with Awards Program and County Council installation will take place on stage.
The highlight of the evening in the open-air pavilion will be the crowing of the 2012 Palo Alto County Fair Queen, which is set for 8:30 on the open-air pavilion stage. Capping off the evening’s activities will be the 4-H Share the Fun program at 8:45 p.m.
The Commercial Building will open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, and the Palo Alto County Extension Council will be operating the Patsy Wirtz Memorial Train ride for youth around the fairgrounds.
The fairgrounds will be buzzing early on Friday, July 20, as the North Iowa Tractor Ride will begin with the first of four groups of tractors leaving the fairgrounds around 7:15 a.m. and continuing through 9:30 a.m. In the livestock pavilion, the Market Hog show begins at 8 a.m. The Palo Alto County Fair Association will host the weekly Emmetsburg Chamber Coffee on Friday morning in the Exhibits building, starting at 9:30 a.m. All Commercial Exhibit buildings will be open from noon to 9 p.m.
At noon, the 4-H Communications, Educational Presentations and Working Exhibits will be presented in the Independence Township Schoolhouse, which will provide the exhibitors with a chance to share what they have learned in the course of their project with a live audience. At 1 p.m. archivist Trudy Huskamp Peterson will present a program in the schoolhouse.
A scavenger hunt for youth will begin at 1 p.m. and judging activities continue at 1:30 with the Goat Show in the pavilion.
Several free activities for young and old alike will be offered on Friday, starting at 2 p.m, with face painting, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, and lasting until 7 p.m. From 2:30 to 6:30, a balloon artist will entertain all ages as well. At 3 p.m. Kiracatures, the caricature artist, will begin sketching and will continue until 7 p.m.
The Market Lamb show will begin at 2:30 in the livestock pavilion. Interviews for the Bucket/Bottle Calf exhibitors will start at 3 p.m. and will be followed by the Bucket/Bottle Lamb and Goat Exhibitors interviews, at 5 p.m.
From 5 to 7 p.m., the Palo Alto County Cattlemen will be grilling and serving their annual meal at the Open Air Pavilion and from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Iowa Trust and Savings Bank will sponsor the band “Galaxy” in concert on the open-air pavilion stage. The public is welcomed and encouraged to come to the fairgrounds for a freshly grilled meal and some great musical entertainment!
The younger set takes to the livestock pavilion at 6 p.m. Friday with the Bucket/Bottle Calf Show and at 7 p.m., the Bucket/Bottle Lamb and Goat show will take to the livestock pavilion.
The Commercial Building and exhibits will be open from 12 noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and the day’s activities will wind down for the older youth with the annual mud volleyball tournament, starting at 7 p.m.
Saturday has a full slate of activities, starting with the Market Beef Show at 8:30 a.m. Feeder projects will be judged first at the Feeder barn, and then breeding classes and market beeves will take to the show ring in the Livestock pavilion. Also on tap for Saturday is the 4-H Horse Show, as the equestrians will take to the Bonnie Lammers Memorial Arena at 9 a.m. Saturday and will continued through the day.
A Craft Fair will open to the public at 9 a.m. and continues through 2 p.m. in the south commercial building. The Commercial building will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., along with the 4-H Exhibits building and the Independence Township Schoolhouse will be open from 1 to 3 p.m.
The competitive side will be satisfied starting at 1 p.m. Saturday with the annual Pedal Pull, in the open-air pavilion.
The Palo Alto County Conservation Board will present a program on how to make your own paper in the schoolhouse at 1 p.m. Once again, Amy the face painter and balloon artist will be on the fairgrounds from 1 to 6 p.m. sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, to entertain the youth and Kiracatures will also be drawing caricatures from 2 to 6 p.m. as well.
The County Council’s annual Cowpie Bingo will get underway at 1 p.m. and the annual Pet Show is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
The North Iowa Tractor Ride participants will be returning to the fairgrounds starting around noon time, and plan for a wrap up gathering of their participants at 2:45 in the open air pavilion.
At 3 p.m., the Second Annual Palo Alto County Firemen’s Waterfights will take to the street on the east side of the fairgrounds, as the West Bend Fire Department will look to defend their title from the 2011 Fair.
The Fourth Annual Ag Olympics, sponsored by the Palo Alto County 4-H Youth Council are planned for 3 p.m. The Ag Olympics brings out the best in competitive natures, which is sure to produce lots of laughs and fun for everyone. The annual watermelon-eating contest is planned for 4p.m. near the livestock pavilion and the “Win It in a Minute” game show will follow at 4:45 p.m. in the open-air pavilion.
The Palo Alto County Peace Officers’ Turkey Tenderloin Barbeque supper is set for Saturday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at the open-air pavilion. The barbeque is guaranteed to fuel everyone up for a special performance of “The House Band” sponsored by The Kerber Companies as part of their 90th Anniversary. “The House Band” will entertain on stage at the open-air pavilion from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to conclude day three of the Palo Alto County Fair.
Sunday’s Wind Down
The fair winds down on Sunday, with exhibits other than livestock being sold on the auction being released from the grounds from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The annual Pony Express Riders Horse Show will start at 11 a.m. in the Bonnie Lammers Memorial Arena. Next door, the Emmetsburg Karting Association will sponsor Go Kart races at the Emmetsburg Raceway, located on the west end of the fairgrounds. Hot laps will get underway at 2:30 p.m. with racing to start at 3 p.m. There is no admission fee to watch the excitement of the racing.
At 2 p.m., the All Premium Livestock Auction will take place in the pavilion to close out the livestock events of the fair.
The fair officially comes to a close at 9 p.m. with the annual Teen Dance in the Exhibits Building to bring the 2012 Palo Alto County Fair to a close.