Champaign County Fair includes Idol winner and ‘sense of community’

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 175th Champaign County Fair in Urbana, and members of 4-H, FFA, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are getting ready.

Sandy McDavid was preparing pig pens for the shows later this week.

“I believe this is the nicest fair around,” she said. “We have a wide variety of animals.”

McDavid explained that she liked the sense of community she found at the fair.

Her daughter Mary has been showing animals for three years as a member of Triad FFA and 4-H. The hard work pays off, she said.

Outside of the barns, other fair participants arrived to show their talent.

“We’ve had over 100 items from individual Girl Scouts in the past,” Anna Johnson said. She organized the Girl Scouts projects for competitions.

Her husband, Art Johnson, managed the Boy Scouts.

“We’re not sure how many people we’ll get,” he said. “We’re never sure until they come.”

Still, both leaders are confident that this year will be great.

“What (the fair board) does for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is fantastic,” Art Johnson said. “We appreciate the fair.”

Showmanship competitions will start opening day, and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and special guest Steel Ivory will perform at the Grandstand at 8 p.m.

On Sunday at 7 p.m. the crowning of the 2016 Junior Fair Queen, 4-H Boy & Girl of the Year and FFA Boy & Girl of the Year will take place in the Grandstand.

The fair will hold its first “Dress a Cow Contest” after Monday’s Dairy Show.

The fair will run until Aug. 12. General admission is $7 for adults and children older than two, and it includes unlimited mechanical rides for the day.

An exhibitor’s ticket is $23 and individual week-long passes are $28. They do not include rides. Exhibitor, 4-H, Jr. Fair tickets or all-week pass holders may pay $7 at the Ride Office each day for rides. Parking will be free in the Auto Admission, Powell Avenue general lot.

Seniors ages 65 and older and veterans and their spouses who present their discharge papers at the Main Gate will be admitted free on Tuesday.

Wednesday is youth day. Children can compete in egg tosses, races and kid-friendly games.

Free Grandstand events are available on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. General admission to concerts is $20. Prices vary for special events such as the Champaign Co. Classic Truck Pull on Saturday, the NTPA Truck & Tractor Pull on Monday and the Demolition Derby next Friday.

“We always have a good turnout if the weather holds,” Champaign County Fair Board member Randy Leopard said.

Call the Champaign County Fairgrounds at 937-653-2640 for more information.