BLUE EARTH - The Faribault County Fair is back for its 152nd year with some new attractions and old favorites.
The fair starts today and runs through Saturday at the fairgrounds in Blue Earth.
Music is a big draw with multiple acts, said fair board member Sara Gack.
A?LITTLE?PRACTICE?— Bob Goodman drives Marlo and Memphis, two Norwegian Fjord horses, around the arena Monday, practicing for the farm hitch competition at the Faribault County Fairgrounds. The fair begins today.
Johnny Holm is back; his show begins 8 p.m. Wednesday.
"He gets everybody involved," Gack said. "He picks people out of the crowd and lets you sing."
The Duttons aren't really a new act; they played the fair in 1994, "when they were just getting started," Gack said. Since then, The Duttons have racked up many honors, including being in the Top 10 on NBC's "America's Got Talent."
"They do pretty much everything, do every instrument," Gack said.
They will play just one show - 7:30 p.m. Friday in the grandstand.
Other types of shows are scheduled too.
"The Freddie Prez show was the most popular last year," Gack said. Prez shoots submarine sandwiches and toilet paper into the crowd. "He makes it fun for all ages, that's what's nice."
New this year is the Knockout Punching Machine, "Like a punching bag," Gack said. "Challenge your friends to get the highest score."
For lighter entertainment, check out Alfy's Robotic Puppets, which can appear anywhere on the grounds, Squeak the Clown on Friday and Saturday, and Farmer Bob and Johnny the Worlds' Funniest Tractor, which includes a skunk that sprays water and all sorts of sirens, horns, bells and whistles.
Fair food is something a lot of folks look forward to all year.
"If you're hungry, you can find something to eat here for a reasonable price," said fair volunteer Gene Stallkamp.
New things to try are icees, Cuban stuffed potato, and onion slices, he said.
Old favorites are onion rings, lemonade, Chris Purvis' elephant ears, Teems' Mini Melt ice cream, Taco Express by Polo and Melinda Sifuentes, and Farm Boys BBQ with T.J. Johnson.
"Trinity (Lutheran Church) has had a food stand here for years," Stallkamp said. "The 4-H has an excellent food stand."
The 4-H kids will hold a fashion revue at 6 p.m. today, modeling outfits they have purchased or constructed. They will receive ribbons and find out who is going to the state fair and who is in the court of honor, Gack said.
The Talent Show follows at 7 p.m. today with categories for pre-teens, teens and older competitors, said Robin Stenzl. There will be a variety of singers, dancers and other talent. Admission is free or you can donate to the food shelf.
"This year, I have a lot of pre-teens," Stenzl said. "Dancers from Wells are here every year; different kids, but the same school of dance."
Lots of people will be honored for the work they do in the community.
The Farm and Fair Awards start 1 p.m. Wednesday. Larry and Myrna Prange will be honored as the Fair Persons of the Year.
"They have done so much," Gack said, "involved with the fair for many years and with the Historical Society. Just people that need to be recognized."
Women in Agriculture starts 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, and will share career journeys. Special guest will be Sue Kruger, president of the Minnesota Agri-Women.
Veterans and Kids Day is Saturday with the Veterans Day pancake breakfast kicking off at 8:30 a.m. A special veterans program called "Thank You" will start at 10:15 a.m. and feature Mary Rose Varo performing songs she has written. A Quilt of Valor made possible by the Main Street Sewing Society will be exhibited.
It wouldn't be a fair without lots of animals.
The FFA Children's Barnyard starts at 8 a.m. today. There will be swine, cows and horses to be judged.
Something that's tough to find anywhere else is the Norwegian Fjord Horse Show.
So far, 33 Norwegian horses are scheduled to take part in the various pulling and riding competitions, said Marlin Krupp. Competitors include youth and adults, and the youth lead line is for those ages 7 and younger. Categories will include Western Pleasure or English riding, reinsmanship, an obstacle course called gambler's choice, and a category called unicorn.
"You have two horses side-by-side and one on the lead," said Krupp, describing a triangle formation.
Seeing these horses competing is "quite unique," Krupp said.
"People all over southern Minnesota are of Norwegian heritage, so they like to see the Norwegian horses," he said.
The horses have a unique look too: the body is a buckskin color with white manes and tails that have a black center. Owners cut the mane in a flat-top style known as roaching to call attention to the contrast, Krupp said.
Saturday will be the grand finale with the antique tractor pull set for 11 a.m., and the ever-popular demolition derby beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The week concludes with a fireworks show by B-Big Top Fireworks of Mapleton.