Olmsted Fair preparations gain steam
On a scorching Wednesday afternoon, a mostly empty Olmsted County Fairgrounds was beginning to show signs that something big was coming
A lone, garish mini-doughnut stand sat empty, the first of the food vendors to mark its territory. Nearby, carnival rides waited to be unpacked and set up.
Terry Leary, president of the County Fair Board, said it's the beginning of five days of preparation for Monday's opening of the Olmsted County Fair.
"All the food vendors are starting to come in," she said, "and over the weekend the commercial vendors will start to set up."
Among the people hauling and setting up on Wednesday were Tom Marsh and Rick Vehrenkamp, of Schott Distributing, who were busy preparing the fair's beer garden.
"We're just trying to get a jump on things," Marsh said between setting up neon signs and other merchandising.
This year, the beer garden will be under the management of the Wicked Moose. Marsh said he hopes the new direction will be successful.
"(They've) really stepped up and tried to get it rolling again," Vehrenkamp said. "There's going to be much more entertainment and live music."
Other changes to the fair this year include a Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo stocked with snakes, turtles, tortoises and alligators. Gold Cross EMTs, Olmsted County sheriff's deputies and Rochester firefighters will also give demonstrations and talk about basic emergency response.
"We can always use training on CPR and how to put out fires," Leary said.
Changes to the dairy barn will allow people to watch cattle be milked, and the history displays in Floral Hall have been expanded, she said.
Fairgoers should also watch for new menu items, such as peanut-butter-and-jelly on a stick, pizza dogs and buffalo burgers.
On Wednesday, Rick Broadwater led a group of 20 inmates from the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center who were helping put up horse stalls in a 4-H building.
The crew will set up before the fair, help maintain the grounds during the event and help take down once the fair is over.
"They want to be out here doing this, because otherwise they're sitting in jail," Broadwater said. "Most of them do like it."
But Wednesday's extreme heat made the work difficult.
"The worst thing is it's always the hottest part of the year," Broadwater said. "It's a lot of heavy lifting … and it's just miserably hot."
Tuesday: Demolition derby. 7 p.m. Adults: $10. Children under 12: $5.
Wednesday: Skid Loader Rodeo. 7 p.m. Admission is non-perishable food items for Channel One.
Thursday: Motokazie Supercross Races. 7 p.m. Adults: $10. Children under 12: $5.
Friday: Tractor and Truck Pull. 6:30 p.m.; $5 per person.
Saturday: Demolition Derby, 6 p.m. Adults: $15. Children under 12: $5.
Tuesday: Rides open at 5 p.m. Unlimited rides from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for $20 per person.
Wednesday: Rides open at 1 p.m. Unlimited rides from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. $20 per person per five-hour session.
Thursday: Ride open at noon. Unlimited rides from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. $20 per person per five-hour session.
Friday: Rides open at noon. Unlimited rides from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. $20 per person per five-hour session.
Saturday: Rides open at 10 a.m. Unlimited rides from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. $20 per person per five-hour session.
Sunday: Rides open at noon. Unlimited rides from noon to 6 p.m., $20 per person.
Livestock judging and events
Noon: 4-H Horse Trail Classes. Horse Arena.
2:45 p.m.: Cloverbud Rabbit Show. Graham 1
4 p.m.: 4-H Rabbit Judging. Graham 1.
6 p.m.: 4-H Horse Parade of Clubs. Horse Arena.
6 p.m.: Youth Livestock Judging Contest. Building 42.
9 a.m.: 4-H Horse Judging. Horse Arena.
9 a.m.: Poultry Judging. Graham 1
9 a.m.: 4-H Dairy Show. Building 42.
10 a.m: AgStar Miracle of Birth Center Opens
Noon: 4-H Dairy Awards Program. Building 42.
1 p.m.: 4-H Goat Show. Graham 1.
1:15 p.m.: Celebrity Milking Contest. Miracle of Birth Center.
4 p.m.: 4-H Sheep Show. Graham 1.
5:30 p.m.: 4-H Music in Motion. Horse Arena.
8:30 a.m.: 4-H Market Beef Show. Graham 3.
9 a.m.: 4-H Horse Show, Pleasure & Games. Horse
1 p.m.: 4-H Beef Breeding Heifer Show. Graham 3.
5 p.m.: 4-H Horse Awards Ceremony. Horse Arena.
5 p.m.: SE Minnesota Holstein Show. Building 42.
6 p.m.: FFA Sheep Show. Graham 1.
6:30 p.m.: 4-H Rabbit Judging Contest. Graham 1. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.
8 a.m.: 4-H Swine Judging. Graham 1.
5:30 p.m.: Cloverbud Baby Animal Show. Graham 3.
11 a.m.: English Horse Show. Horse Arena
7 p.m.: 4-H Market Livestock Auction. Graham
9 a.m.: FFA Dairy Show. Building 42.
9 a.m.: Draft Horse Halter Show; Stallions & Geldings. Horse Arena
1 p.m.: Draft Horse Showmanship. Horse Arena.
2 p.m.: FFA Beef Show. Graham 3.
5:30 p.m.: Open Class Sheep Judging. Graham 1.
6 p.m.: Draft Horse Hitch Classes. Horse Arena
9 a.m.: Dairy Judging, Colored Breeds. Building 42.
9 a.m.: Draft Horse Show, Halter & Group Classes. Horse Arena.
9 a.m.: Rabbits Judged. Graham 1.
9 a.m.: Dairy Goats Judged. Graham 1.
10 a.m.: Beef Judging. Graham 3.
10 a.m.: Pigeons Judged. Graham 1.
11 a.m.: FFA Swine Show. Graham 1.
6 p.m.: Cloverbud Pet Show, Graham 2.
6 p.m.: SE Regional 4-H Mini Horse Show. Horse Arena & Building 42.
7 p.m.: Draft Horse Hitch Classes. Horse Arena.
9 a.m.: Miniature Horse & Pony Show. Horse Arena.
The full fair schedule can be found on the Olmsted County Fair website .