For one week in July, the Expo grounds west of Great Bend become a microcosm of Barton County. Our work and our creative hobbies, our favorite music and what we do for fun all come together as the Barton County Fair.
The fair gets into full swing Friday and Saturday, but hundreds of people have already stopped by to ride a carnival ride, eat a funnel cake or “alligator on a stick,” watch grown men play with model airplanes or admire their neighbors’ handiwork. On Thursday, 4-Hers presented a more casual version of the Fashion Revue held June 27 as an official pre-fair event. Open Class judging got under way, along with judging of more 4-H projects. Everything from artwork to woodworking is on display.
In addition to the photography and other art entries, this year’s fair has an exhibit by Becca Drach, the July featured artist of the Barton County Arts Center. Usually the Center, located at Forest and Main in Great Bend, is open weekday afternoons, but during the fair the gallery is closed and a sign on the door directs people to the Barton County Fair and Expo II, where Drach, a painter from rural St. John, is showing a number of works inspired by the commemorative cattle drive that went through Ellinwood and other communities last September.
Many traditional fair events are yet to come, including the antique tractor pull on Saturday and the 55th annual Barton County 4-H barbecue on Sunday.
There will be a rock concert with AC/DC tribute band Hells Bells at 8 p.m. Friday and a country music concert with The McClymonts at 8 p.m. Saturday.