HARTINGTON — For over 100 years, the Cedar County Fair has been an annual summer event. This year looks to be no different.
The 2019 version is set for Wednesday, July 17, through Sunday, July 21.
Come hail or high water, Cedar County Ag Society Board president Greg Heine said the show will go on.
“We had some challenges back in March when high water and flooding caused $200,000 in damages to the fairground complex,” Heine said. “But after an easy estimate of over 600 hours of volunteer labor, we are ready to hold a fair.”
Heine recalled the long hours of cleanup removing six inches of mud from the fair office, restrooms and exhibit halls and gutting the damaged walls.
Then there was the removal of the demolished livestock facility and repacking the foundation supports in the grandstand area.
“We’re as ready to go as we can be,” Heine said.
A new addition to the fair midway will be a new vendor for family activities, which include a rock climbing wall, inflatables, maze, zip line course and bunge-jumping.
“It is a midway which will offer something for all generations,” Heine said.
The Cedar County Ag Society is pleased after 20 years of holding rodeo events, this year they will welcome the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) in a PRCA and WPRA Sanctioned event on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Another change to the fair for this summer will be a Tractor Pull on Sunday, July 21, at 6 p.m. at the grandstand, replacing the demolition derby.
“As time moves on, changes are needed and we decided a tractor pull would be a good addition,” Heine said. “We’ll try it and if something new and better comes along, we’ll make a change then — all for improving the fair.”
The last five years the Cedar County Ag Society has seen a steady increase in fair attendance, interest, vendor revenue and sponsors thanks to changes in attractions and events.
A new rodeo queen was crowned a week ago and 4-H exhibits roll in on Tuesday, July 16. There is an equipment and antique display daily.
On Wednesday, there will be a free hamburger feed, barrel racing in the rodeo complex and a talent contest at the grandstand.
Thursday events include the Cedar County Fair PRCA Rodeo and FFA teen dance. On Friday, Hamster Bubbles will open on the midday at noon and the Midway Fun Center opens at 5 p.m., along with zip lining. The Dylan Bloom Band entertains at 7 p.m., preceding national entertainer Brett Michaels.
Saturday afternoon events include Ak-Sar-Ben awards and Old Time Fiddlers. In the evening, a reptile show begins at 6:30 p.m. Luke Mills will entertain at 7 p.m. at the grandstand, followed by Jordan Davis in concert.
The best pie award will be handed out on Sunday along with face painting, a pedal pull contest, free ice cream social and tractor pull.
In between there are school exhibits, 4-H exhibits and funnel cakes.
After coping with the destruction from March flooding, the Ag Society has started a flood relief fund to cover the costs of rebuilding the lost livestock facility.
While setting up for this year’s 4-H entries with tents, the Ag Society began planning the replacement of the 56-stall facility with a 65-stall livestock building, which will hold bucket calves, swine and goats. The new building will be 75 feet by 134 feet and connect three buildings still standing on the fairgrounds. Fundraising will include name on a brick or stall and also naming rights on the building.
For ticket information and a fair schedule, check out https://cedarcountyfair.net/ for more details or on Facebook.