Franklin County gears up for fair

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Franklin County returns to its rural roots July 14-21 with the best in county agriculture, horticulture, and a ride or two thrown in for fun at the Franklin County Fair in Hilliard.

New entertainment in the Grandstand, special events in the Entertainment Pavilion, and Super Shot, a new midway attraction similar to Demon Drop, are just a few of the changes awaiting people attending the fair.

“Our entertainment tent is new and can seat between 300 to 400 people,” said fair board of directors member Barb Rushley. “It fills the gap between riding the rides, walking around the fairgrounds, and seeing shows at the grandstand. It’s a nice option for people of all ages.”

Pigs on the run & farm animals

It is all things swine at the Hambone Express Pig Races, where the audience can cheer on their favorite porker as the pigs race around the track. Competitions are held daily at noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. A petting zoo affords kids the opportunity to visit with farm animals not normally seen today. The pig races and petting zoo are free with admission to the fair, but to view the biggest pig in the country at Big Pig, there is an extra charge of 50 cents.

Other features

Fairgoers might never know if the statue they are standing next to is real or JoyUNSPEAKABLE, a living (mime) statue who moves around the fairgrounds entertaining crowds with an eerie likeness to three dimensional works of art. Do not be surprised if you are tapped on the shoulder by a statue that suddenly comes to life.

Daily events at the Franklin County Fair also include The Magic of the Caplingers, a family magic show based in Ross County with three to four different shows each day; Firefighter’s Training Show; Great Ride Company Rides, which close daily from 5-6 p.m. for inspection; and Hilliard Historical Village.

A classic car show rumbles into the Grandstand area at 5:30 p.m. on July 16. The new event is followed by a concert featuring Phil Dirt and the Dozers, a perennial hometown favorite bringing back hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s sprinkled with humor and energy. Prior to the evening shows, kids can get up close view with a DARE car; participate in a Kiddy Pull; see COSI displays; visit with residents of the Columbus Zoo; and shoot, toss, and throw at the Buckeye Championship Sports Tour during the Franklin County Sheriff Cops and Kids Day. Activities take place in the entertainment pavilion and park.

“Our goal this year was to have something new and different and all of the shows are family oriented,” said Rushley. “During kid’s day, WWHO-TV will be in the entertainment tent and is giving away a free iPod. Many of the events are interactive and there are lots of new and exciting shows and activities. The fair is inexpensive for families and is a tradition shared by many generations.”

The schedule

•Opening ceremonies take place on July 14 at noon and are preceded by harness racing at 11 a.m. in the grandstands. The Junior Fair Royalty Contest and Style Show starts at 7 p.m. in the Junior Fair Activities Tent. Other daily highlights include:

•July 15—Junior Fair Horse Show, all day; Junior Fair Creativity Challenge, 3 p.m.; Naima Johnson singing Gospel music, 4:30 p.m., Entertainment Pavilion; and Rough Truck Contest, 7 p.m.

•July 16—Kiddy Pedal Pull, 4 p.m., Grandstand; Junior Fair Horse Fun Show, 7 p.m.; Junior Fair Arrangement Challenge, 7 p.m.

•July 17—Junior Fair Swine Show, 8 a.m., Burke Building; Junior Fair Horse Fun Show, 9 a.m.; Junior Fair Horse Musical Free Style Horse Show, 5 p.m.; British Invasion, 5 p.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Poverty Neck Hillbillies, 8 p.m., Grandstand.

•July 18—Senior Citizens Day, activities begin at 9 a.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Central Ohio Council of Square Dance Clubs, 1 p.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Senior Fair Chili Cook-Off, 5 p.m., Senior Fair tent; Junior Fair Horse Royalty and Horse Awards, 6:30 p.m., Junior Fair Activities tent; Sheriff’s Canine Unit Patrol, 7 p.m., Grandstand; Demolition Derby, 8 p.m.

•July 19—Franklin County Commissioners’ Pie Contest, 11 a.m., Senior Fair Activities tent; Junior Fair Creative Baking Auction, 1:30 p.m.; John Schwab Party Band, 5 p.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Tractor Pull, 7 p.m., Grandstand.

•July 20—Junior Fair Showman of Showman Contest, 3 p.m., Burke Building; Kiddy Pedal Pull, 5 p.m., Grandstand; Truck Pull, 7 p.m., Grandstand.

•July 21—First Annual Cornhole Team Tournament, 9 a.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Junior Fair Livestock Auction, 1 p.m., Burke Building; Terry Koz and the Breezeway Band, 5 p.m., Entertainment Pavilion; Demolition Derby, 8 p.m., Grandstand.

•Admission—which includes rides, parking, and entertainment venues—is $8, July 14-19, and $9, July 20-21 and only $7 on Cops and Kids Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seniors are admitted free on July 18 with a Golden Buckeye Card from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are on sale at NAPA Auto Parts stores and Discount Drug Mart.

Detailed daily information is available at www.franklincountyfairgroundsohio.org or by calling 876-7235.

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