JANESVILLE

After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rock County 4-H Fair kicks off Tuesday with new activities and old favorites such as its first farmers market and the return of bull riding.

“We had two years to plan this one,” said Abbey Gasser, the first director of the fair board, in a Tuesday interview.

The fair also will feature its signature grandstand entertainment, 4-H exhibits, carnival rides and games, and lots of fried foods and other treats. It runs until Aug. 1 with admission gates opening at 7 a.m. each day. The carnival will kick off Tuesday at noon and is provided by North American Midway Entertainment.

The fair’s first farmers market will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 29.

“It’s going to be focused on agricultural products and is an educational opportunity for us,” Gasser said.

There will be an antique car show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 31; an antique tractor show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1; and a children’s bike ride around the fairgrounds at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1. Bull riding will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1.

Other annual entertainment such as the pig and duck races and lumberjack show will be back, as well.

“We are hoping for a big turnout,” Gasser said.

Although the number of 4-H exhibitors is down this year after many struggled with COVID-19 restrictions, Gasser said the kids who are coming this summer are eager to show off their hard work.

The return of the fair is sweet music to the ears of Hailey Hoffman, a member of La Prairie 4-H Club. Hoffman, a freshman at Craig High School, said 4-H’ers took their pigs to the fairgrounds for one day of judging last year in an event limited to club members and family. Next week, however, they will be able to showcase their animals all week long to anyone who walks into the pig barn. Hoffman will be bringing her pigs, Duck and Dino. She has been prepping Duck by walking and bathing him twice a day.

“He gets more baths than me,” she joked.

Hoffman said her favorite part of the fair is seeing her friends and her hard work pay off.

“Being there all week is a lot of fun. I want to see everyone a little longer,” she said.

The first grandstand show will be Wednesday, July 28, when the Britins, a Beatles tribute band, takes the stage at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, July 29, Steve Meisner will perform a fresh brand of polka music with space for dancing at 5 p.m. followed by Kids from Wisconsin at 8 p.m. The show choir features 36 youngsters with music including American classics, big band, tunes from the 1950s through the 1980s, swing, jazz, country, Broadway and current top hits.

Runaway June will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, July 30. The country group is comprised of three vocalists with strings. They have been nominated for Academy of Country Music and Country Music Television awards, were named CMT’s “Next Women of Country,” joined major tours with some of the biggest names in country music including Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood, and performed on national TV including at awards shows.

On Saturday, July 31, Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry will perform at 8 p.m. Montgomery Gentry released six studio albums for Columbia Records’ Nashville division. The albums produced more than 20 chart singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Gasser said the fair is expecting big crowds for Runaway June, Montgomery and Kids from Wisconsin. There will be four carnival wristband days this year, including a Friday deal that has to be purchased online.

General admission to the fair is $10 for adults and $5 for children 7 to 12. Kids 6 and younger are admitted for free.

As usual, there will be plenty of 4-H exhibits for the public to see, including animal projects; judging for swine, dairy, beef, goats, sheep and poultry; and other displays ranging from art and cake decorating to model aircraft building and more.

Other attractions include:

  • Beef showmanship at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1.
  • “As seen on Pinterest” at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 29.
  • The meat animal sale at 9 a.m. Friday, July 30.
  • The fur and feather sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 31.
  • A dress-an-animal contest at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 31.

For more information visit rockcounty4hfair.com.

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