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Fair features the birth of many new events

Animals, exhibits, food and family-friendly fun can all be found at this year’s Olmsted County Free Fair.

In addition to the 30 rides, 52 food vendors and thousands of exhibits, animals, plants, vegetables and baked goods, families will find a lot of new things to enjoy. There’s an animal rescue and adoption event, pony rides by RideAbility, ice skating in Graham Arena and more.

"We’re making it a safe, family-friendly fair," says Terry Leary, fair board president. "The conservation building will be all educational this year. We’ll be working with a rescue and doing an adoption event. There will be talks that appeal to folks on keeping their lawns green and pruning their trees. And there’ll be ice shows and open skating in Graham Arena."

Also new this year is the AgStar Miracle of Birth Center. Located in Building 43 Tuesday through July 30, families will be able to witness animals giving birth, enjoy storytime with a dairy princess, feed a calf, pose for a picture in the animal-themed photo booth, and learn more about the local agriculture industry. The center will be staffed by a veterinarian and a host of trained volunteers.

"We’re really excited about the Miracle of Birth Center. We’ll have two cows birthing every day and a dozen chicks hatching every day," Leary says. "The entire focus of the Miracle of Birth Center is to educate people on where their food comes from and the agriculture that exists here in Olmsted County."

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Another big change this year is free admission to the fair all day, every day. Parking is still $5 per day, or $15 for a season ticket. The fairgrounds open at 10 a.m. and exhibit buildings at 11 a.m. daily. The midway opens Tuesday. Midway hours and details about the fair’s special events and activities can be found online.

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