The theme of the 96th Hamilton County Fair, to be held Tuesday, July 23 through Sunday, July 28 at the fairgrounds in Webster City will be “Hammer Down! Hamilton County Youth Racing into the Future.”
This fair will celebrate 75 years of motor car racing at the speedway and will be the first for the new secretary/manager Michele Chalfant.
“This is my first fair, but I’ve filled in helping in the past,” she says.
Husband Randy has been on the fair board for 16 years.
At last year’s fair, RAGBRAI was passing through Webster City on the first night, creating additional concerns about traffic and parking, and bringing more campers to the campgrounds.
“It’s been easier this year without RAGBRAI going through,” Chalfant admits.
Chalfant says the challenge in planning the 2013 fair was simply getting the board members together for some of the final meetings.
“It was hard to get everyone to meetings at the same time, because lots of our board members are farmers, and they were trying to get into the fields,” she says.
The new Events Center and Show Arena will be in full use this year. It’s air-conditioned with a new concession stand inside. Built in 2012, it features a 100×100 foot show arena with a concrete floor with gating and ramps, stadium-style seating for 230. A tanbark base can be added as needed for animal events. The outdoor plaza is an open-air pagoda with brick flooring, benches and metal picnic tables.
Board member Charity Hayes says a highlight this year will be hypnotist Brian Imbus for family entertainment on the Ed Prince Stage. Traveling from Las Vegas to Paris, he has entertained thousands of audiences for the past 18 years. His hypnosis performance is a fast-paced spectacle of laughter and excitement that is appropriate for all types of events. The audience will be amazed as Imbus will lead his hypnotic volunteers through a journey of imagination while they become the stars of the show. His unique style has made him one of the top requested performers in the business.
“I always look forward to doing fair shows, as this is the opportunity to bring my performance in front of all ages,” he says. “Although I am based out of Iowa, I perform all over the world at high schools, colleges and corporate events.
“This will be my first time performing at the Hamilton County Fair, and I can assure you that this will be one of the most unique show experiences that your attendees will ever have,” says Imbus.
For additional information and videos about his show, visit http://www.brianimbus.com/.
Hayes also mentioned that Iowa State University will sponsor farm safety talks on Wednesday of fair week, that Power Up Youth will have a quiz bowl each afternoon through Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Ed Prince Stage, and that the Border Brigade Archery Club will do demonstrations on Saturday at the Claude Horse Arena.
Another crowd-pleaser is the Bill Riley Talent Show on the Ed Prince Stage at 2 p.m. Saturday. Qualifying shows are held across the state throughout the year and winners advance to the talent show competition at the Iowa State Fair.
The Hamilton County Fair is a long-standing tradition in the county and Webster City.
The fair is a cooperative effort of the business and professional people in the county, and involves residents from Blairsburg, Ellsworth, Jewell, Kamrar, Randall, Stanhope, Stratford, Webster City and Williams. It is both entertaining and educational, and it provides for participation from both rural and urban areas for all ages.
The county’s first fair was held Oct. 14 – 15, 1857, just months after Hamilton County was officially organized as a county. Classes for the 1857 fair included horses, mules, cattle, hogs, butter, Best Improved Farm, grains, fruits, vegetables, quilts, cabinet work, tailoring, waxwork, beadwork, blacksmithing, boots, flour, bricks and a competition for lady equestrians. Speeches were given by local dignitaries. During some periods — such as war years — there were no official fairs held, but for the most part, fairs have been an annual summertime event in Webster City and Hamilton County.
The traditional kick-off to the events is the Hamilton County Fair Parade through downtown to the fairgrounds on Tuesday, July 23 starting at 6 p.m. The route will be from downtown to the fairgrounds. The commercial exhibits open at 6 p.m., and the midway, featuring Smith Amusements, opens at 6:30 p.m. A pie-eating contest will also be held that evening. Each day of the fair, there will be an Antique Tractor Display by North Central Iowa Antique Tractor Club.
Upon arrival at the fairgrounds, visitors can view the 4-H/FFA and commercial exhibit booths in the various buildings and check out the livestock in the barns.
On Wednesday the popular pedal pull events begin in the afternoon south of the Coop Building. They are held each afternoon at 3:30 p.m. That evening at 7 p.m. is the Hamilton County Fair Queen Coronation on the Grandstand with entertainment provided by The Dance Connection.
Thursday Night Thunder is the special feature that evening with Hot Laps at 6:30 p.m. with racing to follow, featuring IMCA Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Stock Cars, IMCA Sport Mods, IMCA Hobby Stocks, and Sports Compacts at the Grandstand/Race Track.
The Friday Night Thrill Show starts at 7 p.m. with Trailer Races and “The Hound & The Hare” race at the Grandstand/Race Track, followed with a finale of fireworks. The following night is Saturday Night Classic Plus Kid’s Night at the Grandstand/Race Track with Hot Laps at 6 p.m. with racing to follow, featuring the same events as Thursday.
Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, look for late afternoon armband specials for Midway rides and games.
Sunday is the last day of the fair with The Central Iowa Showdown, an elite livestock event that brings together central Iowa’s best livestock and top showmen to compete for the title of Showdown Champion at 11 a.m. in the Show Arena.
The Parade of Champions will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Show Arena. All youth exhibitors who win a championship livestock award are invited to participate in the parade. They will exhibit their ribbons as well as their animals. Be sure to see this “Showcase” of Exhibitors. The bucket/bottle calf and bottle lamb exhibitors also participate in this parade.
Following the Parade of Champions, the Supreme Hamilton County Senior Showmanship Competition will be held. This competition will be between individuals who won Senior Showmanship honors in all of the other species. They will be judged on their knowledge and abilities to exhibit the animals. Senior Supreme traveling trophy will be presented, courtesy of the Hamilton County Fair Board.
A special evening event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Grandstand/Race Track, the Eve of Destruction Demolition Derby.
Two of Hayes’ children are especially looking forward to the Hamilton County Fair. Son Harrison is in his first year of 4-H and is showing in the rabbit class. His favorite part of the fair is raising animals and helping out with all the different activities. Daughter Addison is in her second year of the 4-H bottle lamb program, and will be showing a lamb and a goat this year. She enjoys feeding her animals and showing them at the fair.
“It will be a great fair if the weather cooperates — that will really boost race attendance. I’m encouraged, but the unknown is scary,” says Michele Chalfant, of her first secretary/manager experience.
A complete schedule of events and other information can be found on the brand new Hamilton County Fair website at http://www.hamiltoncountyfairia.com/.