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High attendance, excitement and heat expected at the start of fair week

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All Occasion Tent employee Stephen Danso pitched a tent stake in the ground Thursday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin.  Scott Roberson |  Daily newspaper
All Occasion Tent employee Stephen Danso pitched a tent stake in the ground Thursday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin. Scott Roberson | Daily newspaper

The Johnson County Agricultural and 4-H Fair is gearing up for a comeback after last year’s fair featured only 4-H activities broadcast live.

Now that COVID-19 cases are declining in Johnson County, with just eight new cases reported this week so far, precautions during the event will be minimal. Hand disinfection stations will be set up and individuals will not be required to wear masks, in stark contrast to the canceled and virtual events of last year just a few months after the pandemic was declared a health emergency public. Now, in addition to the typical fair events, the Johnson County Health Department will be hosting a vaccination clinic at the fair.

Additionally, in a new event, at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday, the fair will host the first truck and tractor pull of the Johnson County Grand National Championship. The event will cost $ 20 to attend with free parking. Tractors are imported from places such as Michigan and Wisconsin as well as from across the state, said Brian Young, chairman of the fair’s board of directors.

There won’t be many changes from what the County Fair looked like before the pandemic.

Changes to the fair last year did what they needed to do, Young said. They adopted safety measures while still allowing children involved in 4-H to compete after years of hard work.

“Our community and the kids of 4-H are the reason we’re putting it all in,” he said.

Despite the changes, last year’s fair was not lacking in support, from 4-Hers parents and the community, said Charlie Rodenhuis, vice chairman of the fair’s board.

“We’re trying to pay back a bit and try to have the best fair we’ve had in a long time,” Rodenhuis said.

Workers are preparing for next week's Johnson County Fair on Thursday at the Franklin Fairgrounds.  Scott Roberson |  Daily newspaper
Workers are preparing for next week’s Johnson County Fair on Thursday at the Franklin Fairgrounds. Scott Roberson | Daily newspaper

Despite successful adaptations amid the pandemic, fair officials are thrilled to see the fair as it is meant to be – with a full range of rides, events, and food vendors.

“We think it’s going to be really big,” Young said.

The area’s carnivals and street fairs have been heavily attended this season, which bodes well for the forecast for the county fairs this year, he said.

Residents of Johnson County are excited to return to the fairgrounds for a week of competitions, fries and rides. The fair’s board has received a lot of comments online from enthusiastic fans, Young said.

Among the cows, dogs, goats, horses and rabbits, an unusual creature will be at the fun fair: the dinosaurs are making a comeback. The Jurassic animatronics that first appeared at the 2019 show will come to life at morning and evening time intervals from Tuesday through Sunday.

Thirteen-year-old Elliana Cole on Thursday picks up sawdust spilled from cattle stalls at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin.  Scott Roberson |  Daily newspaper
Thirteen-year-old Elliana Cole on Thursday picks up sawdust spilled from cattle stalls at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin. Scott Roberson | Daily newspaper

The pig pens were also completely replaced, with 307 new pens installed in the barn, Young said.

Thursday’s forecast predicted a week of fine, sunny weather with highs in the 80s, according to the National Weather Service. There is a low probability of thunderstorms Sunday and Monday.

Festival goers should dress appropriately for the heat, consider wearing light-colored clothing and make sure to stay hydrated, said Joe Skowronek, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“We’re so excited and ready to have it and be able to be here. We think it’s going to be a very good fair, ”Young said.

Rodenhuis recalled that the fair community and the crew were looking forward to the event. Lots of people were moving into the fairgrounds on Monday evening, he said.

“You just want a little boost of energy, certainly compared to last year and even years past,” said Rodenhuis. “I think everyone is looking forward to it.”

Entrance to the fairgrounds is free, but parking at the fairgrounds costs $ 5 per car. A one-week parking pass is available for purchase at the show office. Parking is free before 1 p.m.

If you are going to

The Johnson County 4-H and Agriculture Fair kicks off this weekend.

Here’s a look at the highlights for the next week:

Johnson County Fair Parade

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: The parade begins at Franklin Community Middle School and winds around downtown Franklin, ending at the Johnson County Attorney’s Office at 1 Caisson Drive.

Little Miss and M. Johnson County

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Indoor arena at Johnson County Fairgrounds, 100 Fairground St., Franklin.

No cost

Queen’s competition fair

When: Sunday at 7 p.m.

Where: Indoor arena

No cost

Family evening halfway

When: Monday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Cost: Unlimited Ride Bracelet is $ 25.

RT2 (Read Touch Taste) children from 4 to 7 years old

When: 10 a.m. on Tuesday

Where: Heritage Room

No cost

Kiddie Day halfway

When: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday

Cost: Unlimited Ride Bracelet is $ 15

Johnson County Grand National Championship Tractor and Truck

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Grandstands

Cost: $ 20 entry, free parking

Parade route

Here’s a look at the parade route of the Saturday Fair:

The parade will begin at 4 pm at Franklin Community Middle School;

travel east on Banta Street;

turn south on Walnut Street;

travel east on Jefferson Street;

walk past the Johnson County Courthouse;

turn south on South Home Avenue;

and terminate at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, 1 Caisson Drive.


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