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Strike it rich
Barton County Fair underway

The long-awaited opening of the 2017 Barton County Fair is upon us. Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 5, people will begin checking in livestock and exhibits at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend. Soon the fun will start.
But the next few days of awards, food and entertainment have been months in the making, said Inga Atchinson from the Barton County Fair Association.
On Monday evening, dozens of 4-Hers, Friends of the Fair, KSU Research & Extension staff from the Barton County office and other volunteers joined the Fair Committee to help with the final setup.
There were floors to sweep and chairs to set up, along with stages, exhibit areas and animal pens to build or put in place. Dinah Newman and BrayLynn Anshutz, two members of the Busy Buzzers 4-H Club, were covering tables with paper and moving them into position for the foods department. Others were preparing the clothing area, photography display and other areas. Every 4-H Club in the county is expected to pitch in with setup and tear-down, the girls explained.
“It takes a lot more work than you really see,” Anshutz said. “It took a lot of people; it’s kind of a group effort.”
Inga Atchinson’s husband Charles, president of the Barton County Fair Association, explained this year’s theme, “Strike it Rich in Barton County,” in his annual letter to fair goers, she said.
“We’re not really focusing on money; we’re focusing on the resources of Barton County,” she said. “(Those are) what brought people to Barton County and what is keeping them here. Families are at the top of that list.”
Props that illustrate the theme were being erected Monday evening. There is a train for the railroad, grain elevator for agriculture, a derrick for oil production and a church for faith.

Back to the races
Each year the Fair Association underwrites some special entertainment which can often be found at the east end of the Commercial Building. This year the Fair Association is bringing back the miniature model stock cars that fairgoers can race. Paul Sutton with RORR-ing Entertainment first brought his 1/10th scale racing system to the Barton County Fair in 2015.

Back Seat Drivers
Loren “Santa Claus” Phillips, another Fair Association board member, said he’s looking forward to some of the fun contests scheduled for Saturday. He’s in charge of one event: the Back Seat Drivers contest at 3 p.m. Two-person teams must get a riding lawn mower and attached trailer through an obstacle course. The “back seat driver” rides in the trailer and directs the driver, who is blindfolded.
Other Saturday contests include the Mutton Bustin’ and Kids Ranch Rodeo, antique tractor pull (bring your own tractor), and kids’ pedal tractor pull (tractors provided).
And then there’s the food, Phillips said. In addition to a variety of concession indoors and out, there will be a community watermelon feed on Saturday. On Sunday people can attend a non-denominational breakfast and church service, the Farm Bureau Root Beer Float social and the 4-H barbecue.

More entertainment
Tonight there will be entertainment on the free stage and “Movie Night @the Barton County Fair,” sponsored by the City of Great Bend. The movie “Richie Rich” starring Macaulay Culkin, will be shown at 9 p.m. between Expo I and Expo II.
Wagner’s Carnival opens Thursday, and headliner concerts are planned for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Concert tickets for Colton Dixon (Christian concert, Thursday); Revelation (rock and roll tribute band, Friday) and Josh Thompson with special guest State Line Drive (country concert, Saturday) are available at select locations or online at