A staple of summer in Carroll County, the annual 4-H and FFA Fair, will return to “normal” this year after a truncated version was held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited and ready to go,” said Jason Watt, president of the fair board.
Held annually since 1897 and at the Carroll County Agriculture Center since 1954, the fair is set to open officially on July 31 and run through Aug. 6, although there are some big entertainment events scheduled just before and after the fair.
While the main purpose of the fair is to showcase Carroll County 4-H and FFA members exhibiting project areas ranging from livestock, crafts and gardening to technology and fine arts, over the years it evolved into one of Carroll’s signature entertainment events — featuring live music and motor sports, as well as pig racing and blacksmith demonstrations.
Here are some things you might want to know about the fair before you go.
How many people are expected to come to this year’s fair?
In a traditional year, anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 spectators will visit the Ag Center grounds during fair week. Last year, attendance was low as restrictions limited the fair to just exhibitors and their families, and forced the cancellation of the biggest attractions.
If you’re still wary about crowds and COVID, Watt warned people to be prepared as he expects “more folks than usual” to attend this year. “People just want to get out,” he said.
Will there be any COVID-19 related restrictions at this year’s fair?
The plan is to hold this year’s fair without limitations or restrictions, Watt said — “If you’re sick, just don’t come.”
Although fair events will be mostly go on “the same as usual,” Watt said, the one exception will be events on Senior Day scheduled for Aug. 5. Those will be “a little lighter this year,” he said, as senior centers that are typically very involved in the day remain cautious about the virus.
What’s the cost of admission to the fair?
The fair is free to attend! But there is a cost associated with some of the featured entertainment events.
What kind of entertainment will be featured at the fair this year?
This year’s entertainment schedule features country music singer Neal McCoy, who has been performing for more than three decades. McCoy’s notable singles include “No Doubt About It,” “Wink” and “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On,” among other top 10 country hits. He’s scheduled to appear Aug. 5 on Finch Stage.
Other scheduled activities include a tractor pull on July 30, vintage farm stock racing, dirt drags and local bands, according to the fair website. A car demolition derby wraps things up Aug. 7, after the fair has officially closed.
To view a full schedule of events, visit carrollcountyfair.com/calendar.asp.
Wait, I thought Mark Chesnutt was supposed to be this year’s featured act?
Chesnutt, a singer-songwriter who has had eight No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country charts, was scheduled to perform at this year’s fair, but had to cancel. Several country music outlets reported he had suffered a back injury and had to undergo surgery, canceling a string of planned tour dates through early September.
How can I get tickets and how much do they cost?
Advanced tickets for McCoy’s concert, the Interstate Tractor and Truck Pull (July 30) and the Car Demolition Derby (Aug. 7) at the Buck Miller Arena are available online. Visit etix.com and search Carroll County Fair. The concert is $25 per ticket, the tractor pull is $15 and the demolition derby is $10.
All additional paid entertainment admission can be purchased at the gate directly prior to the event, according to the fair’s website.
Is there a way to watch from home?
Not the big events, but a number of shows in the arena will be livestreamed, such as the market animal and showmanship events, Watt said. Other events outside the arena, such as the cake auction, will be recorded and posted online for residents to see after the fact. The livestream will be available to watch on the fair’s Facebook page.
Where is the best place to park and how much does it cost?
The best place to park during the fair is at the grounds of the Ag Center. Watt said there is plenty of parking available in the large grass lot. There is a parking charge of $5 after 4 p.m. every day.
When is the best time to visit the fair?
Latest Carroll County News
“Anytime is a great time to come to the fair,” Watt said, but if you want to avoid the crowds, he said weekdays are often much less busy than the weekends.