Get ready for the 177th Champaign County Fair. It starts today

Kaitlyn Neff, 14, washes off her dairy steer after arriving at the Champaign County Fair Thursday. The fair, in Urbana, officially starts Friday, August 3. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Kaitlyn Neff, 14, washes off her dairy steer after arriving at the Champaign County Fair Thursday. The fair, in Urbana, officially starts Friday, August 3. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The 177th edition of the Champaign County Fair is set to kick off today with a country music concert and fun for the entire family.

Those participating at the fair were setting up Thursday, Champaign County Fair Secretary Meredith Bodey said.

“All the exhibits are coming,” she said. “We are ready to go.”

The fairgrounds will open at 7 a.m. and not close until 11 p.m. Friday. A concert featuring Michael Ray and Walker McGuire is set for 8 p.m.

“This is the place for everybody in Champaign County to be,” Bodey said. “It’s tradition. People plan their vacations around it.”

Bodey said she expects this year’s fair to be well attended. Fair organizers are hoping for good weather and for a lot of friends to come out and enjoy the fair.

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“Everybody comes out and spends the eight days out here,” she said. “Campers started moving in last Saturday and Sunday morning and they have been camping out there since then and having a good time. It’s time to catch up with old friends you haven’t seen in the last year.”

The first event set for Friday will begin at 8 a.m. when the Junior Fair market swine, lambs and goats will be weighed. The Junior Fair horse shows begin at 3 p.m.

The Champaign County Fair Truck Pull will take place on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Weigh-ins for the event will take place starting at 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by Kehl Chevrolet in Mechanicsburg.

There will also be a blood drive on Monday.

“The American Red Cross will have its annual blood drive at the Champaign County Fair on Monday, August 6th from 12 noon to 6 p.m. The Red Cross is in an emergency appeal. This means because of the summer shortages, (they) are taking in less blood than our hospitals are using,” fair officials said in a statement.

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Cable Creative Kids Advisor Melissa Sizemore and kids in the group were putting up decorations in Champaign County Fair Grounds 4-H Building. The theme this year is “Chill out with 4-H” and involves combining snow and the beach.

“We are setting up our booth for our sewing and our cooking and creative arts this year,” Sizemore said.

The fair provides a lot of fun for people of all ages. Abby Downey, 12, said she looks forward to the fair all year.

“I’ve been coming to the fair my entire life,” Abby said. “It’s really fun and amazing.”

She said she looks forward to riding the rides and showing off her pigs and sewing work. She said the most challenging part is keeping the livestock together. The most rewarding is seeing the pigs grow and develop.

Preparing for the fair is a lot of work, but she looks forward to the fair every year.

“It’s kind of challenging but its also really fun,” Abby said.

Those who are interested in learning more about the fair are invited to visit its website at champaigncountyfair.com.


HOW TO GO:

When: Aug. 3 - Aug. 10

Time: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: 384 Park Ave. in Urbana

Ticket Prices start at $8

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