Created: 08/05/2014 7:34 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
It’s one of the best weeks of the summer.
"We feel like the county fair is the county celebration," said Mower County fair board president Neal Anderson.
It's a celebration that's been 131 years in the making. And like most years, this year's Mower county fair will be a little bit different than last year's.
"I guess the biggest thing, the buzz is all about the new carnival. We've got gold star amusements here," Anderson told us.
It's been a generation since we've seen a new carnival at the fair.
"Nothing against the 31 year relationship we had with Merriam's, it was great, but sometimes we have to make a change and hope it's for the better," Anderson said.
And this year, getting around on the fairgrounds is going to be a little bit easier.
"We are offering free rides to people from both the north and south parking lots," said Kathi Finley as she drove a cart down the fair’s main drag. “Elderly people, people with children, just to make it a little bit easier for them to come out."
This is the second year the fair’s new grandstand will be a focal point on the fairgrounds.
"We moved our ticket booth in off the main walkway, added some more lighting, worked on our sound a little bit," Anderson said.
The new grandstand opened a year ago, replacing an old structure that had such serious structural problems that it was destroyed in a spectacular fire training exercise. The Hormel Foundation contributed more than a quarter million dollars toward the new grandstand, and asked the fair board to pursue other uses for the grandstand outside of fair week.
"We've partnered with the paint the town pink committee and it was our inaugural winter demo last year," Anderson told us. “We've also got a bicycle group that's coming in in August. Slowly we're marketing it and with every piece of the puzzle it becomes more attractive to groups that want to use it.”
And whether it's a fair in the middle of summer or a demo derby in the middle of winter.
"We get to showcase what we do here," Anderson said.
Grandstand events at this year’s Mower County Fair include two demolition derbies, a motocross, truck pull, bull riding, and a free concert featuring "Time Machine" on Friday night.
The fair runs through Sunday and, as always, admission is free