BLUE EARTH - The 154th Faribault County Fair - set for July 22-26 - will have plenty of entertainment, food and craft beer, says Daryl Murray, president of the fair board.
"We invite everybody to come out and enjoy the Faribault County Fair," he added. "There is something for everyone to enjoy at the fair."
One new feature is craft beer sampling on July 23.
FJORD?HORSE?— The Norwegian Fjord Horse Competition is a big draw for the Faribault County Fair. The 29th competition is set July 22-23.
The networking event is set from 5-7:30 p.m. July 23 in the Veterans Building, hosted by Faribault County Development Corporation. Samples of Minnesota-made beer will be available.
Grandstand shows will include the always popular tractor pull July 22; musicians Susie McEntire, and The Last Ride on July 23; and July 24 is free night with The Brown Family's "good variety of gospel music" at 7 p.m. and the Devon Worley Band, "fantastic entertainer" at 9 p.m. The group IV Play opens for the popular Hairball on July 25.
"The demolition derby - that always draws people," Murry said. It will be July 26.
Free entertainment on the grounds includes a lot of new things, he said.
Bob Bohm's variety show will be around all week. Animal Fest and Parakeet House will have three or four shows a day, and have camel and pony rides.
"If you've been in a butterfly house, this is  parakeets," Murray said, adding there is a charge. "You can feed the birds; a lot of different colors, so it should be interesting."
A BMX track will be set up on the street by the 4-H building for performances July 25-26.
The Raptor Center will present several educational programs each day.
The Medieval Encampment on July 25-26 will demonstrate and recreate the Middle Ages.
"Relax in the shade of the giant oak trees" inside the big tent, Murray said, which is a hub of entertainment, including Gary Tyson's magic shows at 3 and 6 p.m. July 26.
The Veterans Building will be the site for the comedy group Mixed Nuts to perform, and for the annual pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Saturday for the veterans.
"This year [country singer] Sherwin Linton is doing his program for the veterans at 9:45 a.m.," Murray said.
Fair food has a special place in everyone's heart.
There will be a food stand serving Cuban food, such as Cuban sausage-stuffed potatoes; Fantasy Concessions will deep fry just about anything, including pickle spears, mushrooms and pizza rolls: The Wild Side Cafe will offer reindeer, elk, buffalo and wild boar; and Island Concessions will have gyro sandwiches and shish kabobs.
The old regulars will turn out, including the 4-H clubs in the air-conditioned dining hall, Mexican food, the onion ring stand and Hope Church with French fries and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, Murray said.
Country Boys Barbecue will have their popular brisket sandwich, and C&T Concessions will have a variety of foods, including ice cream, walking tacos and panini sandwiches.
One favorite that won't be at the fair is the Trinity Lutheran Church food stand, which was destroyed by a falling tree during the wind storm June 16.
"The loss of a longtime tradition of good fair food," Murray said, "especially their hot beef sandwich and excellent pies."
Midwest Rides is providing the carnival this year. It is new to the fair; the company that provided last year's carnival is no longer in operation, Murray said.
To get into the fair on foot is free, but there is a charge for parking. A season pass for the full stretch of the fair is $20; it's $5 per day to park.
For more information, visit www.faribaultcountyfair.com online.