Most years, things stay the same at the McHenry County Fair. This week, though, the fair will bring in the new.
The McHenry County Fair, running today, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 7 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, will have new shows and a new venue to showcase local talent.
If you goIf you go
What: McHenry County Fair
When: Opens today and runs through Sunday, Aug. 7. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, Thursday and Sunday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: McHenry County Fairgrounds, 1050 Country Club Road, Woodstock
How much: $6 adult, $3 children ages 8-12, free admission for children 7 and younger, $3 seniors 65 and older, $15 season ticket (good for all five days of the fair), Grandstand admission not included with daily admission.
Details: Call the McHenry County Fair offices at (815) 338-5315, visit mchenrycountyfair.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The fair has been running on a consistent annual basis since 1949 and looks to stay on pace with past attendance numbers. Last year, attendance for the five days was about 75,000 people.
The new Community Showcase Tent will host a number of locally focused events. Dan Linneman, county fair committee member, said the showcase tent was added when the committee and the board realized there might not be enough room for all the acts under the entertainment tent.
"We wanted to highlight local talent and it was getting way too crowded under one roof," Linneman said.
Events that will be in the Community Showcase Tent will include, but not limited to, musical and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, educational programs and a mother-daughter look-alike contest.
Other new events include a writing and gardening contest, a milk-a-cow booth and an antique tractor pull. Not to be confused with the antique tractor pull is the annual truck/tractor pull, on Friday and Saturday. What separates one event from the other are the certain criteria the tractors must meet. The class, age and any modifications to the tractors are taken into consideration.
"Some of the people modify just how much the tractor can pull," said Publicity Committee Co-Chairwoman Donna Douglas. "Those in the antique tractor pull have no changes done to them whatsoever."
There will be plenty of other familiar things to do and see this week. Today, McHenry County will crown its new Miss McHenry County Queen in the annual queen pageant. Then there is the demolition derby on Sunday; all these events will take place in the Grandstand.
Thursday will once again be veterans' day. All retired and current military personnel get in for free with military identification. The 21-tractor salute will pay homage to those who have served the United States. In fact, a recent veteran of the war in Afghanistan will be on one of the tractors.
Douglas said veteran turnout during the first few years of this promotion has been awesome and it is a way of the fair organizers to honor the service the veterans have given to the country.
The 4-H Club continues its major presence in the fair. The local chapter of the organization, with more than 6 million youth members nationally, will have various activities. Thursday night will be 4-H Night at the Fair, and on other remaining nights, the 4-H Club hosts a variety of animal shows and include a livestock auction.
So much is 4-H related, said county fair board member Tim Shanks, that the fair would look completely different without its presence.
"The 4-H'ers are involved in so many of the events," Shanks said. "Without the 4-H, we wouldn't have much of a fair."
All buildings on the fairgrounds now have air conditioning, to the relief of many in the current summer weather.
"This year especially, if it's going to get hot, we want to let them know we have them covered," Linneman said.
Adult admission is $6; children admission for ages 8 through 12 and senior admission is $3; children under the age of 8 get in for free; and a five-day ticket is $15. Any events in the Grandstand are an additional charge.
The McHenry County fairgrounds are located at 1050 Country Club Road in Woodstock. For details, visit mchenrycountyfair.com.