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Revamped Floyd County Fair ready to roll next week

  • Midway rides have already arrived at the Floyd County Fairgrounds for the upcoming fair that is scheduled to run July 17-21. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Midway rides have already arrived at the Floyd County Fairgrounds for the upcoming fair that is scheduled to run July 17-21. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • 4-H and FFA members will compete with their animals and projects starting on Tuesday at the Floyd County Fair. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Island Grill will be one of the food trucks at the Floyd County Fair next week. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • A girl shows her horse in halter class at the Floyd County Fair last year. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • The show arena gets watered down at the Floyd County Fair last summer. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra,

The heart of any county fair is its participants.

That includes cows, pigs and horses.

Sure, there’s the grandstand events, carnival rides and even batter-dipped, deep-fried corn dogs that will keep many folks coming back year after year.

But the backbone of many fairs across the country is the ability of its 4-H and FFA members to shine on the big stage.

All those long hours of hard work could soon pay off with a purple or blue ribbon next week when the 2019 Floyd County Fair officially gets under way on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, July 21. Judging for all non-livestock exhibits begins on Tuesday.

This year’s rendition of the Floyd County Fair will be remembered for a lot of things – perhaps that it’s even taking place at all.

“We’re looking forward to the future, but right now we’re not giving up on the fair by any means,” said Floyd County Fair Board President Amy Staudt.

That future of the fair might have looked bleak to some after the Memorial Day tornado ripped through the grounds, leveling several buildings on the property. That forced a revamped lineup this summer and with that change comes some shows or events that may have to sit out a year.

But through hard work, determination and countless hours of volunteerism, much will stay the same for attendees who are expecting another fun-filled fair like every year before it.

“It’s a junior achievement show for our youth to showcase their projects. That’s first and foremost and that will not change at all,” said Staudt.

Physical structures may no longer stand, but fair week still offers exciting opportunities for everyone – even the bull riders and would-be bean bag winners.

This year’s fair will utilize five different tents after five buildings were destroyed by the tornado. The tents will provide shade and will also be located over picnic tables, Miller’s Petting Zoo and various animals.

“So if people are sitting or watching those things they can enjoy a little shade since we’ve lost a lot of the buildings and a few of our trees,” said Staudt. “We’ll see how much bleacher seating we can fit under them.”

Those buildings that were demolished – the brick building, white building, dairy barn, hoop barn and 4-H food stand building – will alter the fair’s schedule of shows and events.

The Little Hands of the Farm display that was set up in the white building will not take place this year.

“We did lose all of our displays for that. So we will be without that barn this year until we can rebuild that and get that interactive display back together next year,” said Staudt.

The Polka band and bingo that took place in the brick building will also be missing from this year’s fair. The 4-H food stand will serve fair staples like pie, tenderloins and beef burgers in the youth enrichment center.

Livestock shows and grandstand events will go as planned like they have in year’s past, but rabbit and poultry show contestants will be released the day of their shows.

New this year to the fair is Next Generation Shows, which already had part of its midway and carnival rides sitting on the fairgrounds as of Thursday. The carnival business from Nichols, Iowa, will also have a food stand and many games to play.

A big addition and highlight of this year’s fair is the Aussie Kingdom – a chance for fair-goers to interact and learn about wildlife from the Outback of Australia.

There will also be a Kidbucks Game Show, a high energy, interactive game show the whole family can take part in. Randomly selected members of the audience can participate in wild and crazy games with a chance to win prizes. Final winners enter the Kidbucks chamber and try to snatch as many Kidbucks as they can.

Four food trucks will offer up selection of treats — Island Grill, Cookie Dough’tique, Get R’ Fried and Wiley Coyote Grill.

The Floyd County Cattlemen’s Grill will also be firing up burgers and rib eyes.

Magician Eric Michaels and hypnotist Sonny Nardone will perform underneath the band shell.

There will be a DJ playing on Friday night and the band Thrillbillies will perform Saturday evening. Friday is also Veteran’s Day. Veterans receive free admission to the grandstands compliments of Cambrex.

Grandstand events like the East Central Iowa Pullers Association are roaring back to the Floyd County this year to put the pedal to the metal on Thursday, July 18. The Figure 8 races are scheduled to be run on Friday and the Demolition and Power Wheel Derby is a go for Saturday.

Members of the Iowa Draft Pony Hitch Association will also be at the fair this year and will compete in halter and hitch classes.

A mechanical bull, a bean-bag tournament, sand volleyball, kids pedal pull and free pancake breakfast are some of the other attractions and good times awaiting fair goers this year as well.