Barton County Fair website: www.bartoncountyfair.com
The Barton County Fair turns 20 this year and has chosen that milestone as its theme. Although the fair officially runs July 6-10 at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend, a few "pre-fair" events take place this week.
Judging for 4-H clothing, fiber arts and the fashion revue start at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church, and the fashion revue will be at 7 p.m. at the Crest Theater.
Fair setup will start Saturday morning at Expo II, and the 4-H and open class dog show and agility event starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Expo III. Registration is from 8-9.
More setup work at the Expo grounds and buildings will take place at 5 p.m. on July 5, and there’s a helpers picnic after the work is done.
Rules and entry forms can be found at the website, bartoncountyfair.com.
The first Barton County Fair at the Expo was in 1992. Charles Atkinson, president of the Barton County Fair Association, recalled that Expo III had not yet been built. "We were in tents for two years," Atkinson said of the livestock exhibits.
The Barton County Fair Association and Friends of the Fair will recall previous fair themes, such as Country Nights and City Lights, when they decorate for this year’s fair.
"We’ve really got a good lineup of concerts this year," Atkinson said. On opening night, July 6, there will be a free concert by Sheltered Reality, a Christian youth group drum line. On Thursday, July 7, classic rock tribute band Change of Heart will play the music of Heart.
Sanctus Real will perform Friday, July 8. "Sanctus Real are huge in contemporary Christian music," Atkinson said. Their hits include "Beautiful Day" (a U2 cover), "Everything About You," "The Fight Song" and "Forgiven."
On Saturday, July 9, country headliner Craig Campbell will appear in concert with James Wesley. Campbell recorded the hit "Family Man," and is now getting airplay with "My Girlfriend Likes to Fish."
"James Wesley is from Kansas," Atkinson said. He is best known for the song "Real," and may be ready to break through as a headliner himself. In previous years the fair board booked another Kansas performer, Jerrod Niemann, who has also gone on to a successful country music career.
During the fair, Wagner’s Carnival will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and the Golden Belt Railroad Association will be set up in Expo I and have programs from 5-10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a partial list of some of the upcoming fair events:
• Wednesday, July 6: Exhibits are checked in from 8 a.m. to noon and commercial exhibits will be open from 5-10 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a free concert by the Sheltered Reality Drum Line.
• Thursday, July 7: More exhibits will be checked in and judged during the day. From 6-8 p.m. there will be a style show presented by Barton County 4-H and at 8 p.m. there will be a rock concert featuring Change of Heart.
• Friday, July 8: Plenty of animal shows during the day; there will be entertainment on the free stage from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and at 9 p.m. there will be a Christian concert featuring the band Sanctus Real.
• Saturday, July 9: Morning events include ATV racing at the Circle Track; Mutton Bustin’ and Kids Ranch Rodeo at the Aaron’s Repair Arena, with a sheep show later that morning; 4-H Horse Show in the Outdoor Arena; and a car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the afternoon there will be pedal tractor pulls for kids and adults, the Community Bank Watermelon Feed at 5 p.m. and anvil shoots. The free stage will be open from 7-8:30 p.m., and the county music concert featuring Craig Campbell with James Wesley starts at 8 p.m. at the Farmers Bank & Trust Stage.
• Sunday, July 10: There will be a non-denominational church service at 8:30 a.m., followed by breakfast; 4-H round robins for small animals and livestock; 4-H rocket launch at 11:30 a.m.; antique tractor pull at 1:30 p.m. and the Sale of Champions at 2:30 p.m.