School is back in session and summer is (un)officially coming to an end with one last area event – the Hancock County Fair! Whether you’ve been attending for years or this is your first time heading to the county fair check out our guide for the best visit possible!
Step 1: Plan Your Days
Emphasis on the plural DAYS, because there is so much going on you won’t be able to just attend one day. Each day of the fair is chock-full of activities, beginning first thing in the morning until the gates close at 11 p.m. See the schedule for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday!
Step 2: Prepare ahead of time
This goes hand-in-hand with planning your days but make sure you prepare for a day (or more) at the fair ahead of time. Check the weather and dress accordingly and bring a water bottle to stay hydrated in-between sugary snacks. If you’re attending with children don’t forget the stroller and pack an extra outfit (maybe an extra outfit for yourself too – no judgement!). This is an important one, if you take anything from this list, take this – wear appropriate shoes. Leave the cute heels or strappy flip-flops at home and put on sneakers. The fairgrounds is big so plan accordingly – put on your walking shoes! Pro Tip: Don’t wear brand new shoes to the fair! The fairgrounds will get dusty and so will your shoes.
Also, make sure you check admission before you head to the fair! Daily gate admission is $7 and there are season passes and school passes available for multiple days. Military service members are granted free admission with proper identification, and veterans and seniors can enjoy $2/person reduced admission Wednesday! Lastly, prepare by familiarizing yourself with the traffic patterns and parking locations at the fair to make entry into the fair stress-free and as enjoyable as possible!
Step 3: Don’t miss the entertainment each day…
This year’s fair schedule is full of fun for anyone and everyone. No matter your age or interests there will be activities and events all day, every day for you to enjoy. Wednesday there will be harness racing and the second annual Donkey Race. Thursday will host a second day of harness racing, a calf scramble, and presentations by COSI’s “Explore Science Discover FUN!” and The Incredible Unforgettable Bug Lab Experience, as well as a concert by The Reunion Band. On Friday, COSI and The Incredible, Unforgettable Bug Lab Experience return, and the Mazza Museum joins the fun with Hands On Kids Watercolor/Squirt Gun Painting. The evening will be capped with a concert by Luke Rausch. Saturday brings the Broken Horn Rodeo, Horse Team Pulls, and a concert by Electrik Circus. Sunday will host tractor pulls in the afternoon, as well as National Tractor Puller’s Association show in the evening, as well as a concert by the Morse Family Gospel Singers. Monday is the final day of the fair and isn’t lacking in entertainment with the Demo Derby! This is just a small sampling of the headliner entertainment, shows, and activities taking place, check out the full schedule here! All of these activities don’t even include rides, take advantage of your favorites and learn more about wristbands and ticket prices here!
Step 4: …or the Livestock Shows
At the heart of the county fair is the livestock exhibitors. From 4-H’ers and FFA students to Open Class showmen, the Hancock County Fair will be home to livestock shows every day. For the Jr. Fair exhibitors the fair is a culmination of a summer of incredibly hard work. Watch the different shows to learn how each animal is shown, learn more about the species, and support the exhibitors, ranging in age from 9 to 19. If you’d like to further support exhibitors consider taking part in the Jr. Fair Livestock auction. The auction will take place at 9 a.m. on Monday in the South Show Arena (registration begins at 8!) and there are several ways for you to get involved, including on bidding and buying an exhibitor’s project. For more information see the fairground’s website or call 419-423-0323.
Step 5: Make sure to devour as much fair food as possible
One of the best parts of attending the Hancock County Fair is to walk around and eat your favorite fair classics like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and fried everything, and also find what is new this year. What delicious treat will be the most coveted of the fair? Of course, everyone who visits the fair must have at least one egg roll from Betran’s!
If it isn’t already evident, I love the fair. The food, the sights, and socializing with friends that you somehow don’t see all together except at the fair is the perfect way to end the summer. So I hope to see you out at the fair, indulging in your favorite foods, spectating at the livestock shows, riding plenty of rides, and making memories with your family!