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Welcome back: Barton County Fair returns
swine showing
The Swine Show was held Thursday morning at the Barton County Fair, going on now at the Expo Complex west of Great Bend. - photo by Susan Thacker

“Welcome back,” Barton County Fair Board President Charles Atkinson told a breakfast crowd Thursday morning at the Barton County Fair.

“Last year was unique for us,” Atkinson acknowledged. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 fair was mostly presented online. This year, fair-goers have returned to the Expo Complex west of Great Bend with the theme, “A New Beginning.”

The Fair Friends have decorated Expo II with a chuck wagon and other items that recognize the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. “When the trail opened, it was kind of a new beginning for them,” Atkinson said, imagining those who followed the trail and those who stopped and made Barton County their home.

Michelle Beran, the 4-H and Youth Development agent from the Cottonwood District of the K-State Extension, also welcomed fair-goers. The 4-H families are an integral part of the fair and 4-H clubs put together 16 prize baskets that were given away at the breakfast. “We hope to see you all the rest of the week,” she said.

Extension Agent Donna Krug also spoke at the breakfast and invited people to stop by the K-State Blender Bike to make a smoothie. She provides the ingredients and pedal power turns the blades on a blender attached to a stationary bike. “I’ll be set up Friday and Saturday as well,” she said. 

The fair continues through Sunday with livestock shows and exhibits, food trucks and vendors, antique tractor pull, mutton bustin’, pedal tractor pulls, sand volleyball tournament, corn hole tournament, Family Fun Night games, a poker run and concerts.

Saturday will start with a Family Fun Bike Ride at 8 a.m. Children can register their bicycles with the Great Bend Police Department and visit a bike check-up station. The first 25 children to show up can receive free bicycle helmets, provided by the Barton County Fair Association, Cottonwood Extension District and Pilot Club. Some additional children’s helmets of various sizes were recently added by another donor. The ride starts at the Expo area, 2.5 miles west of 10th and Patton Road in Great Bend.

Here’s the schedule for Friday, which is “Military Day”:

7:30 a.m. 4-H Dairy Goat Show (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

9 a.m. 4-H Meat Goat Show (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

11 a.m. AM 4-H Sheep Show (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

5 p.m. 4-H Beef Show (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

5-10 p.m. Commercial Exhibits Open (Expo I)

6 p.m. Family Fun Night

6:30 p.m. Fashion Show presented by Barton Co. 4-H - Free Stage (Expo II)

7 p.m. Adult Corn Hole Competition (Outside Beer Garden)

8 p.m. Rock Concert – featuring Homebrew (Farmers Bank & Trust Stage)

Saturday is Kids Day:

8 a.m. Family Fun Bike Ride

8 a.m. 4-H Horse Show (Outdoor Arena)

9 a.m. 4-H Hand pets (Expo II)

9-11 a.m. Be Well Barton County Health Fair (Expo II Stage)

Noon Antique Tractor Pull Registration

1:30 p.m. Antique Tractor Pull (North of Expo III)

3 p.m. Registration Mutton Bustin’ (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

3:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’ (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

4 p.m. Sand Volleyball Tournament (Outdoor Arena)

5 p.m. Peoples Bank & Trust Watermelon Feed (Commons Area)

5-6:30 p.m. Open Class Swine Check-in (Expo III)

5-10 p.m. Commercial Exhibits Open (Expo I)

5:30 p.m. Registration Kids Pedal Tractor Pull (Expo II)

6 p.m. Family Fun Night

6 p.m. Kids Pedal Tractor Pull (Expo II)

6:30 p.m. Registration Adult Pedal Tractor Pull (Expo II)

- Adult Pedal Tractor Pull Directly after the Kids (Expo II)

6-8:00 p.m. Free Stage (Expo II)

7 p.m. Open Class Swine Show (Expo III)

7 p.m. Adult Corn Hole Competition (Outside Beer Garden)

7 p.m. Cruise Barton County Poker Run

8 p.m. Country Night – featuring Ricochet (Farmers Bank & Trust Stage)

Sunday’s schedule

8:15 a.m. 4-H Members Breakfast sponsored by 4-H Holding Board

9:30 a.m. 4-H Small Animal Round Robin (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

10:45 a.m. 4-H Livestock Round Robin Showmanship Contest (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

2 p.m. 4-H Showcase Awards (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

2 p.m. Farm Bureau Assn. Root Beer Float Social (Expo III)

2:30 p.m. Sale of Champions (Aaron’s Repair Arena)

4 p.m. Buildings Closed for Check out preparations

4:30 p.m. Check out Exhibits

Monday, July 12

All Day Tear down and storage; all volunteers welcome

5 p.m. Final Check Out of remaining Exhibits and Clean up