JASPER COUNTY — The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the 96th annual Jasper County Fair to 4-H livestock shows and small crowds last summer.
The midway featured no rides and the grandstand stood empty as precautions were put in place to keep the virus under control.
But fair association officials are ready to pump life back into the 97th edition of the county fair with the return of carnival rides and food vendors at the county fairgrounds next week. There will also be grandstand events each night of the fair, which is set for July 24-31, as well as demonstrations, displays and music.
4-H shows, the backbone of county fairs, will continue with bigger crowds allowed back in the show arena.
The fair kicked off with the crowning of Anna Hannon of Rensselaer as the fair queen on July 16. As queen, she will be asked to attend many of the 4-H shows and make appearances at grandstand events.
Here is a look at some of the major events scheduled for the week:
Saturday, July 24
The tractor/lawn and garden tractor operator’s contest will be held north of the Exhibit Hall starting at 8 a.m. … There will be open class shows in the Community Building and the truck and tractor pull is set for 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
Sunday, July 25
An open horse pleasure show at the Horse Arena is set for 8 a.m. … A church service provided by the Tri-County Bible Church will be held at 10 a.m. with Mud Drags set for 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
Monday, July 26
The 4-H Swine Show will begin at 8 a.m. and continue into the evening in the Show Arena. … The Latting Rodeo will perform at 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
Tuesday, July 27
Dairy Goat judging will begin at 8 a.m., with Meat Goat judging to follow in the Show Arena. … The Horse Arena will also be the site of much activity beginning at 9 a.m. … Dairy Female judging is set for 10 a.m., with Pygmy Goat judging to follow at 1 p.m. in the Show Arena. … Carnival Time Amusements opens from 5-10 p.m., with donkey races at the grandstand at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28
Rabbit judging at the Rabbit Building will be held at 8 a.m., with Sheep judging at the Show Arena at 8 a.m. … The Horse Arena will hold Gaming classes at 9 a.m. … A Night of Laughs and Music is set for 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
Thursday, July 29
The Dairy and Beef shows will begin at 8 a.m. in the Show Arena with judging of Poultry, Turkey and Waterfowl set for 8 a.m. in the Poultry Building … Gaming classes will be held at Horse Arena at 9 a.m. and the Cincinnati Circus will perform at the grandstand at 7 p.m.
Friday, July 30
The Supreme Showmanship event will be held in the Show Arena at 10 a.m. … The Show Arena will also host the Livestock Auction beginning at 6 p.m. after a dinner for auction buyers between 4-5:45 p.m. … Monster Trucks will invade the grandstand at 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 31
After post-fair clean-up at 8 a.m., the final day of the fair features music starting at 2 p.m. at the free stage, with the Demolition Derby set for 7 p.m. at the grandstand. … Carnival Tyme Amusements will open rides and booths beginning at 2 p.m. … A fireworks show will begin at dusk to cap off fair week.