The local fair season kicks into high gear with the Franklin County Fair July 12-19 in Hilliard with loads of free entertainment, animals, and thrill rides for the adventurous.
Admission is now a flat rate of $5 July 12-17 and $6 the remaining two days of the fair for all ages for all daily events, grandstand, and entertainment activities. All-day ride passes are $12 throughout the seven-day run of the fair, but only $10 on July 14.
Individual ride tickets are also available. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the midway begins operation at noon. Gates close at 10 p.m. each night.
"New this year is the first annual Franklin County Fair Teen Idol contest on July 13," reported Senior Fair Board Director Barb Rushley. "We heard from other counties that have done it before and were successful, so we thought we would try it. It’s a new and upcoming thing.
"The contest is divided into three age groups, and the top five are picked in each group to move on to the finals, where everyone competes against each other for a cash prize and opportunity to be the intro singer for the Danger Brothers concert on July 15."
WWHO-TV personality Jason is hosting the event based on vocal ability, stage performance, and appearance. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m., followed by the final rounds at 7 p.m. This contest is strictly for amateurs; no professional entertainers are allowed to enter.
Rushley said the fair also features new daily entertainment including the Great Lakes Timber Show with chainsaw carving, axe throwing, and log rolling at noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. and the Brian Staples Animal Encounter Show and petting zoo.
Entertainment Tent acts include a balloon artist, COSI on Wheels, and musical groups such as Simba-a country/southern rock band, Rob Adams and Phatcat, funk/soul band Direct Energy, and Death by Banjo. Harness racing takes place at the grandstand, along with a Kiddie Pedal Pull sponsored by Central Ohio Young Farmers on July 14 and, weather permitting, a hot air balloon launch on Friday or Saturday.
The 2008 Franklin County Junior Fair opens at 8 a.m. on July 12 with livestock and horse exhibits and concludes on July 19 with the annual Junior Fair Livestock Sale at 1 p.m. in the Burke Building show ring. Outstanding Market Exhibitors and J.D. Equipment Outstanding Livestock Market Exhibitor Award winners will be recognized on July 18 at 2:30 p.m. in the show ring.
The Junior Fair is also host to a Savvy Shopper’s Contest (July 16, 2:30 p.m.), Creative Baking Contest Auction (July 17, 2:30 p.m.), and an All 4-H/FFA Horseless Fun Show (July 18, 7 p.m.).
Special event days are: July 12, 12-8 p.m., Buckeye Championship Sports Tour; July 14, Kids & Cop Day and CW on WWHO-TV Day; July 14, 6-8 p.m., B107-9 "107 Days of Summer" personality appearance/prize wheel/ car appearance and "One Key" winner; and July 16, Senior Citizens Day when senior citizens are admitted free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by showing their Golden Buckeye card.
"The Franklin County Fair is in everyone’s backyard and is focused on the family," continued Rushley. "Many kids don’t get the opportunity to get this close to animals and it’s great entertainment for the entire family."