The Barton County Fair officially opens this Wednesday, July 10, but for many volunteers and participants the events got underway last Tuesday with the 4-H Fashion Revue and the judging of 4-H clothing, fiber arts and banners. The pre-fair events continued Saturday morning at Expo III, with the 4-H dog show and agility contests.
Isabelle Mayers, who would show her multicolored standard poodle, Willow, was in the senior division having attended 10 or 11 of the shows over the years. She said Saturday’s events would include four competitions: showmanship, obedience, rally and agility. Rally is another form of obedience competition, but the judges hold up signs with written instructions for the dog handlers, she explained. The agility competition had dogs and handlers running through an obstacle course.
The showmanship event was first, and 4-Hers changed from casual clothing to something a bit more professional — ties for the boys and skirts for the girls — as they led their dogs around the ring. Brother and sister Sean and Jesse Hames were both showing Australian Shepherds, named Ledger and Bass. Variations of Australian Shepherds were the dominant breed Saturday, as Noah Deines would also enter one, his dog Lexi.
Jesse Hames said she’s been participating in 4-H dog shows for 10 years, but she’s been attending them since before she was born. “Mom was judging dog shows when she was pregnant with me.”
There were also first-time attendees such as Madison Gaddis with her Labrador Lzzy.
Charles Atkinson, president of the Barton County Fair Association, was at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend on Saturday, getting ready for the big opening on Wednesday.
“We’re working hard getting it all put together,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”
Sunday’s Great Bend Tribune features a special section explaining the schedule and some of the highlights for this year’s fair, such as the new cornhole contests. “We’re encouraging people to register for that,” Atkinson said. There will be contests for kids and adults.
Saturday, July 13, will be Kids Day and one new feature will be Trucks and More, from 4-7 p.m. outside Expo I.
Kids will be able to check out firetrucks, farm implements and other equipment.
Toby’s Carnival will make its first appearance at the Barton County Fair this year and Atkinson said people are encouraged to purchase wristbands in advance and at a discount at Community Bank of the Midwest, Credit Union of America, Farmers Bank & Trust, and Everything Under the Son, all in Great Bend, or at Miller Lawns in Hoisington.
Those outlets will also have tickets for the country music concert on Friday, July 12, featuring StateLine Drive; and the rock concert on Saturday, July 13, featuring rock and roll tribute bands Petty Theft (Tom Petty music) and Boogie Wonderland. And on Thursday, July 11, there will be a free concert with Christian music band Building 429 and special guest, Homebrew.
There are plenty of free things to do at the fair, with exhibits opening on Wednesday at the Expo Complex. And if you missed the early events, there will be a Dog Agility Demonstration at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Expo III and a Fashion Show presented by Barton County 4-H at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Free Stage in Expo II.