MARION — A year ago, Marion Fair Board President Daryl Bode said the longtime annual fair was in "rebuilding mode."

This year, Bode is excited because he and his fellow fair board members are expecting a bigger Marion Fair than the last few years, with the return of the midway and more involvement with the animal shows.

"There's a lot more stuff we have coming in for the fair," he said.

The 2017 Marion Fair will kick off on Sunday, June 18, and include a free gospel concert featuring Wyatt and Amber Howey, followed by a pie and ice cream social. The fair runs until Sunday, June 25.

A free mobile petting zoo will be at the fair Wednesday and Thursday, Bode said.

"They're not going to have your run-of-the-mill animals," he said. "They'll have camels and that sort of thing."

An separate petting zoo, one filled with exotic reptiles and more, Bode said, will run from Wednesday through Saturday.

The Marion Fair serves as a kick-off event for 4-H youths, as they will be completing their animal projects throughout the week, said Osceola County 4-H Program Coordinator Jake Stieg.

"There are 4-H youth who are active and attend the fair," he said. "They will be completing their projects and I'm up there to help them. We'll get to see the culmination of all their hard work pay off at the fair."

Although it is not a 4-H fair, Stieg said the Marion Fair serves as the kickoff of the summer program.

"I'm looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off for their animal projects," he said. "They have worked on these projects in the off-season, many of them starting in the winter months.

"I'm really excited. What better way to start the summer than by attending the Marion Fair?" he said.

Nearly every night of the week-long fair includes a grandstand event, Bode said.

The grandstand schedule throughout the week includes:

  • Garden tractor pull, 7 p.m., Monday
  • Stock tractor pull, 7 p.m., Tuesday
  • Miniature horse pull, 7 p.m., Wednesday
  • Super Kicker Rodeo, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Figure 8 demolition derby, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

There is an admission for grandstand events.

No grandstand event is set for Thursday, but Bode said country music entertainer Dwayne Spaw will perform at 7 p.m.

Wednesday is Kid's Day at the fair, Bode said, as there will be games, a pedal pull and a armband available for unlimited rides along the midway.

"We're looking for a pretty good turnout," he said. "With $5 armbands for the midway on Kid's Day (Wednesday), that should be a pretty good day. The concert on Thursday also should draw a decent crowd. The rodeo and demolition derby usually attract big crowds.

"If the weather holds out for us, we're looking at a pretty good fair."