COLUMBIA — With the large number of new activities included in the 63rd-annual Boone County Fair, car lovers, animal lovers and food lovers alike will all find something to enjoy.
The Boone County Fair parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Columbia. It starts
at Broadway and Dorsey Street, goes west to Fourth Street, north to Walnut Street and back to Broadway and Dorsey.
The biggest additions to this year’s fair, which runs from July 20 to July 26 at the Boone County Fairgrounds, are the wide variety of car and motorcycle events, including the flat track motorcycle and hobby stock racing and compact figure 8 races.
Scotty Cook, race promoter for all the new motor sports, said he is excited for the opportunity to introduce motor sports to the week-long event.
“Motor sports have always been a staple to county and state fairs, but it has always been missing from the Boone County Fair, so I am just giddy that they wanted to bring motor sports to the fair,” Cook said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity.”
Cook said he has big plans for the races and is bringing in local motor sports celebrities for Wednesday’s hobby stock car race, including Howard Hall, Danny Crane and 2007 Knoxville, Iowa, track champion Brian Brown.
For all three events, Cook expects a big turnout because so many Columbians are interested in motorcycle and car racing.
“There are a ton of racers in this town that drive and compete, and there are also a ton of fans,” Cook said. “I want this year to come out solid and have a good first year because they want to make it annual.”
For the flat-track motorcycle racing, Cook said he has received calls from many interested out-of-state participants, so he expects a big spectacle Tuesday night.
Cook said safety at the events is his number one priority, and there will be an ambulance and emergency medical technicians on site for all three racing nights.
The fair will also include a new animal show called "Woody’s Menagerie" and a hypnotist booth called, "Linda Dietz, Mystic Muse."
In addition, fans of barbecue will also get their first opportunity to taste the food at the Boone’s Lick Trail BBQ Contest and determine the winner of the chicken wing contest for a $10 fee.
While the new events are sure to bring a crowd, Fairground Manager George Harris said all the old favorites — pig races, truck and tractor pull and the always-popular demolition derby — will be returning as well.
Other traditional events, such as Friday morning's ham judging, Saturday's parade and the dog and horse show, will take place before the fair officially starts Monday. Overall, Harris said he expects around 100,000 people to attend.
The fair costs $5 to get in, $15 for a carnival ride wristband and an additional $10 charge for large grandstand events, making the event economically appealing for families, Harris said.
“Everything else, like entertainment, the children’s barnyard and the talent show contests, are free, so there is something for everyone to do for a reasonable price,” Harris said.
As in the past, various contests give winners rewards such as a $1,000 scholarship for the Boone County Fair Queen and a $500 prize for the adult division talent show winner.
The only contests still accepting entries are the Baby Contest and the Little Mr. and Ms. Contest. Those contests stop taking entries July 17, but Harris said they try to be flexible with entries and will work with hopeful participants if they miss the deadline.
Despite being an opportunity for people to win prizes and have fun, the fair is all about tradition. Harris said the ham breakfast has been around since 1943 and is still a favorite for participants.
As always, Harris said the fair is just a great place for people to all come together and have some fun.
“It is very family-oriented and so educational for the young people, since they can learn to compete and participate,” Harris said. “It's all about letting people come out and socialize with old friends and make some new friends too.”