Fun at the fair

Marion Fair set for June 19 to 25

MARION — Fun and competition will be the focus during the 77th annual Marion Fair.

Set to take place from Sunday, June 19, through Saturday, June 25, the event will feature a series of livestock competitions and grandstand events offering fun for the whole family.

Many area youth who are part of 4-H participate in the fair’s youth livestock program, said Jacob Stieg, Osceola County 4-H coordinator. While the Marion Fair isn’t a 4-H event, the venue provides a capstone for the youths’ animal projects.

All animals except dairy cattle and horses will move into the fairgrounds on Sunday, with competitions beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday with the small animal contests. Following the poultry and rabbit shows, the small animal sweepstakes will end the day on Monday.

Competitors will be back in the ring again at 9 a.m. on Tuesday with the market swine show, Stieg said, followed by sheep, goats and beef steers.

“We’re usually done about 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, depending how the shows go,” he said.

Dairy cattle must be in place by 5 p.m. Wednesday for the dairy judging, which begins at 8 p.m. The dairy show begins at 9:30 a.m. Friday. At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the large and small market animal sale will take place.

The final day of livestock competitions will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday with the horse show. After the horse judging has finished, the large animal sweepstakes competition will begin. Tentatively, the contest is set for 4 p.m.

“In the sweepstakes, all the top placers from all species compete to be the top showman,” Stieg said. “It’s going to be a fun week. This is the first fair in our county and I’m looking forward to seeing all the youth and their projects.”

In addition to the livestock competitions, families can enjoy the various grandstand shows scheduled throughout the week.

The Highlanders will perform in the gospel concert at 7 p.m. on Sunday, with the Garden Tractor Pull beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, attendees can watch the Farm Stock Tractor Pull and at the same time on Wednesday, the Heavy Weight Horse Pull. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, families can watch the Super Modified Truck and Tractor Pull. A rodeo will be the featured attraction at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and the Figure 8 Demolition Derby at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Though there won’t be a midway this year, Thursday will be Kids’ Day, with children’s games from noon to 2 p.m. and a pedal tractor pull at 2 p.m. for youngsters, said Daryl Bode, president of the Marion Fair Board.

“We’d like people to understand this is a rebuilding year,” Bode said. “We’re basically starting from scratch.”

Bode and the rest of the fair board are working to re-establish the fair following the embezzlement charges faced by a former fair board member.

“We greatly appreciate those who continue to support the fair,” Bode said. “That was not the action of the board as a whole — that was the action of an individual, but the fair board has taken the consequences. We’re down in sponsorships and down in animals.

“If the fair makes it through this year, it will survive. We appreciate everything the community’s done for us and we just look forward to getting through this year and making the fair bigger and better next year.”