When this year’s Houston County Fair kicks off Aug. 13, an incredible assortment of activities will keep visitors entertained for four solid days.
“It’s huge,” fair board President Jeromy Johnson said. “Our motto is ‘there’s something there for everybody, no matter what day it is or what time of day.’
New this year is the Midwest Rides Carnival, Johnson noted. Finding a top-notch set of midway attractions is getting to be a challenge for fairs throughout the region, but Minnesota-based Midwest fills the bill, he said.
“I went to Luverne, Minnesota, to see their rides last Friday, and they looked really good,” Johnson stated. “They were clean, and they filled up the space.
The fun begins on Wednesday, when the grandstand show will feature the Skid Steer Rodeo. Johnson said the event is growing in popularity with local competitors showing just how much finesse they can muster with the ubiquitous little machines. “It’s a blast,” he added.
Thursday marks the return of the MN Xtreme Bull Riding show. It’s also returning by popular demand. But cowboys beware: the show features some of the toughest “bucking stock” to be found anywhere. Bull riders will compete for top dollar prizes. Mutton busting will challenge young riders.
Friday’s grandstand show features the ever-popular demolition derby. Johnson said the event will begin with a Power Wheel derby for the kids, and will include more classes for the “bigger kids” this year as well.
On Saturday evening, the modified truck and tractor pull will roar into the fair grounds, while Sunday’s field class tractor pull will feature some vintage and a few not-so-old machines. There are three classes for stock machines, and four for “hot farm tractors.”
For the first time, Sunday afternoon festivities will feature a live band.
“We tried to extend the fair out a bit,” Johnson noted. “We’ll have a live band at the beer garden that night.” Sunday’s “Condemned in Stone,” is just one of six live bands that will appear over the course of the fair.
Barrel racing expands this year to include 4-H and “open class” competitors, Johnson added. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg where that organization is concerned.  As one of  fair’s main events, 4H includes livestock shows, demonstrations, and judging. Those will continue throughout the four-day run. A complete listing of 4-H events and demonstrations would fill many pages.
Special themes for the fair are: Food Shelf Day on Wednesday, Senior Citizen’s Day on Thursday, Kid’s Day on Friday, Family Day on Saturday, and Disability Day on Sunday. A 4-H dog show will also occur on the fairgrounds on Aug. 2, and a 4-H Planter Contest will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
“We want to make sure we’re hitting every age group at the fair. It’s not a community fair, it’s the county fair, and we want to make sure everybody in the county can be entertained,” Johnson concluded.