Janesville19.7°

A fine fair: Fun in or outside of the barns

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 21, 2008
— Let’s say sheep judging is not your thing.

And let’s say that spinning round and round, both clockwise and counterclockwise, at top speeds on a carnival ride is your idea of two minutes in hell.


What, then, can you do at the fair?


Plenty. Oodles. Lots.


From Tuesday to Sunday, the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds will be a smorgasbord of entertainment choices that go far beyond judging and rides.


Not that there’s anything wrong with animal judging—it’s just that most city folks couldn’t tell a Hampshire from a Dorset (sheep) or a Hampshire from a Yorkshire (barrows). And while city folks like to look at animals, they don’t always “get” that judging business.


Nothing wrong with that, either.


Here’s just a few ways to keep yourself amused and engaged outside of the traditional fair categories.


Music

We’ve covered the main stage entertainment already, but here it is again. For a mere $8 you can see Ronnie Milsap at 8 p.m. Thursday; Randy Travis at 8 p.m. Friday; Corbin Bleu at 8 p.m. Saturday and Lady Antebellum at 6 p.m. Sunday.


Or, take a step outside the musical mainstream at the food fair stage. Every day, starting between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and running until 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., the stage is home to solid local musicians of all kinds. A few of the highlights include singer-song writer Greg Winkler at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday; the popular group Country Classics at 5 p.m. Thursday; Christian Country Classics at 1:30 p.m. Friday and Jefferson County Bluegrass Band at 4 p.m. Sunday.


The Rock County 4-H Show Choir, Heatwave, will be performing at noon and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. No auditions are required to be in this group, only “a love of singing,” organizers say. As a result, the choir is bursting with energy, even in the hottest costumes on the hottest days.


Something entirely different

Test your culinary “skills” or watch the masters at work at the cookie-stacking contest at 2 p.m. Friday at the Craig Avenue Stage. Will the winner be the person who understands the principle of vertical stress and the crumble factor? Or is it all about luck?


It’s bound to be a tension- and cream-filled event.


Speaking of cream filled, this year’s cream puff eating contest will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, also at the Craig Avenue Stage. It’s not how many cream puffs you can eat; it’s how fast you can eat one.


And speaking of dairy items, do not miss, “Are you smarter than a dairy farmer,” at 4 p.m. Friday on the Craig Avenue Stage. It turns out that milk does not come from the grocery store but from a cow who has never even seen the inside of a Woodman’s.


Getting milk to market is more complicated that you would imagine. Even if you’re not smarter than a dairy farmer, you’ll learn a lot—and it’s bound to be entertaining to watch the kids crush the adults.


OK, who thought up this one?

Robinson’s racing pigs will zip around their short track every two hours every day beginning at 10 a.m. The track usually includes a short splash through a pool and an Oreo cookie treat at the end.


Future farm hand/farm babe contest, 3 p.m. Thursday at the Craig Avenue Stage. An excess of cuteness will be present as tots in three divisions compete for titles. Here’s the best part: The judges will pick the winners from candid photos.


It shows the judges understand the primary algebraic formula of childhood: Toddlers + heat + humidity = miserable screaming.


The photos will be on display starting at 3 p.m., so fairgoers can pick a “Fairgoer’s choice” in each category: Younger than 1-year-old, 1- to 2-year-old and 2- to 4-year-old. Winners will be announced after 4 p.m.


If you’d like to enter your tot, submit a 5-by-7-inch candid photo and fill out the entry form by 1 p.m. Tuesday. No professional photos will be accepted. A complete list of rules is available at the fair office.


Fair details
Parking

Street parking is available but is limited. Parking is available at First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall Ave., for $5, or for $7 you can come and go all day. Reserved parking is $55 for the week.


A free shuttle will run to and from Creston Park Mall on Milton Avenue from 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Tickets

Daily tickets are $5 for youth 7 to 12 and $8 for 13 and older Wednesday through Saturday. Children younger than 7 are admitted for free.]All admission is half-price Tuesday, and senior admission Thursday also is half-price.


Season tickets also are available for $10 for ages 7 to 12 and $22 for those 13 and older.


Entertainment

All grandstand events are included in fair admission.


-- The fair’s king and queen will be crowned at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


-- Local performers compete in an American Idol-like event in the Rock County STAR Competition at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


-- Country music act Ronnie Milsap takes the stage Thursday at 8 p.m., Randy Travis starts at 8 p.m. Friday, pop-sensation Corbin Bleu sings at 8 p.m. Saturday and country group Lady Antebellum caps the fair at 6 p.m. Sunday.


Rides

Ride specials run all week, starting with Kid’s Day from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday.


All rides will be one less coupon. Friday is Kid’s Day as well.


Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday are wristband days. Wristbands cost $23 and are valid from noon to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, they cost $20 and are valid noon to 8 p.m.


There are no ride specials Saturday.



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