Over the next few days, the Emmet County Fairgrounds will become a hub of activity as it fills with carnival rides, food vendors, animals and thousands of people.
The Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair kicks off Saturday, Aug. 18, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 26.
The fair has operated on the fairgrounds for more than 100 years. Since 2000, it has operated as a two-county fair, with Charlevoix County.
“We’ve been extremely busy getting everything ready,” said fair manager, Agnes Shaw.
Daily admission is $5 for adults ages 13 and older; however, $50 Fair Fun Passes are available. These passes include admission to all grandstand and other fair events for the entire week. Children 12 and under and parking passes are free. Tuesday, Aug. 21, is “Senior/Handi-Capable Day.” Admission for these spectators is free on this day only from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and seniors must be 60 or older.
The Community Building will be open beginning Saturday, Aug. 18 where 4-H exhibits will be on display throughout the fair.
The fair features several animal shows, beginning with the open horse show which is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18. The speed show is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. There will be an open pony pull at noon, a mule pull at 2:30 p.m. and an open draft horse pull at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the grandstands. Admission to these events is $5 for adults ages 13 and older; children 12 and younger are free.
“One of the new things we’re really excited about this year is that we have new stalls in the horse barn,” Shaw said. “We worked really hard all summer long and we took out the 100-year-old stalls to put in the new ones.”
The carnival begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. It will open daily at noon from Aug. 22-26. Mega Bands are available for $50 each if purchased by Aug. 20, and ensure unlimited rides for the entirety of the carnival. Mega Bands can be purchased online at www.emmetcounty.org or by calling the fair office at (231) 347-1010. The carnival also offers $20 wristbands on Wednesday and Thursday in coordination with kids day. Wristbands are good all day for unlimited rides. Friday is dollar day; each ride is $1. On the final day of the carnival, armbands can be purchased at a discounted price of $15.
Back by popular demand, Hometown Idol will return to the fair this year, and will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the grandstand.
Admission to the event is $5 for anyone ages 13 and older, and children 12 and younger are free. Juniors, teens and adults are welcome to participate; prizes will be awarded for first, second and third in each division.
To participate in the event, contestants can register for $25 at www.yourhometownidol.com or by calling (248) 217-3004.
On Thursday, the Tough Truck and ATV show will take place at 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
“In addition to the tough trucks, we’ll have a side-by-side added to the competition,” Shaw explained. “It’s a side-by-side ATV and we’ll build a track with all the humps and bumps and mud in it, and they will run five laps, two or three at a time, and the winners will go into one bracket and the losers into another. We hope it catches on and we’ve had a lot of local interest in it.”
The Friday night grandstand event is AutoCross racing, followed by the Monster Truck Shootout on Saturday.
“We changed the Monster Truck night to Saturday, Aug. 25, because the Cash for Clunkers program took away all our demolition derby cars. We just can’t get enough cars for a good show, so we ended up moving to Monster Truck show to the last weekend,” Shaw explained.
Prices for grandstand events vary each night, visit www.emmetcounty.org for more information.
“Our Parks and Recreation Department has been working extremely hard getting everything ready, and working extra hard on the flower gardens and even adding garden art,” Shaw said.
Friday, Aug. 17