ALCOLA – The first several days of the Clarion County Fair have enjoyed solid crowds, even as a couple of isolated downpours hit the fairgrounds at Redbank Valley Municipal Park on Monday and Tuesday.
With a large crowd geared up and ready to watch dozens of suped-up trucks compete in the pulls on Tuesday evening, rain a couple of hours before showtime forced the event to be canceled. Fair crews spent more than an hour trying to get the pulling track ready to handle the heavy vehicles, but to no avail as the track remained too soft and the show was called off around 8:15 p.m.
A brief but heavy rain also hit the park on Monday, just as the drag racing was scheduled to get underway. Fortunately, the skies brightened up in minutes to allow the event to be held. And rain over night from Monday into Tuesday caused some damage to several vendor tents and displays on the grounds.
But fair organizers are not letting the wet weather early in the week dampen their spirts or hopes for the fair’s remaining three days.
“The week is looking up,” fair board president Josh Minich said, noting that the fair’s biggest three nights remain.
“The end of the week is our traditional action-packed demolition derbies, coming here Thursday and Saturday,” he said. “And the tractor pulls, with two tracks running on Friday.”
Overall, Minich said the fair’s attractions have been well received this year, with a larger than usual number of classic cars participating in Sunday’s car cruise, more food vendors and a big increase in the number of side vendors.
“For the first time in a long time, we are filling the grounds,” he said. “We have equipment back on the grounds from multiple equipment companies.”
The fair’s animal barns have also been full.
“We have a large number of animals,” Minich said. “There are some fairs this year that have struggled to fill barns. All of our barns are full.”
The fair’s three daily side shows — the High Flying Pages acrobatic show; the Tumbleweed Crossing comedy and gunfight show; and the Rock N Roll Pet Store show — have been popular with fairgoers, Minich said, and the fair’s traditional animal shows “are all going quite well.”
Thursday’s lineup at the fair includes the Open Horse Show at 9 a.m., followed by the Lead Line contest at noon. Barnyard Games for children will be offered in Barn 7 at 1:30 p.m., and the Children’s Barn will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. The Master Showmanship Contest gets underway at 4 p.m. in the horse ring.
Thursday night, the Derby Dogs Demolition Derby begins at 8 p.m., featuring compact cars, full-size street stock and windshield classes. Registration for the derby starts at 4 p.m., and a Powerwheels Extravaganza will be held at the grandstand at 7:30 p.m.
Friday is Senior Citizen Day at the fair, with free admission for seniors until 3 p.m. The Clarion County Area Agency on Aging will offer a number of activities for seniors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., including a free lunch sponsored by Tom’s Riverside at noon.
The day also includes the antique tractor show from noon to 5 p.m., the Children’s Barn from 3 to 7 p.m. and the 4-H Livestock Sale at 6:30 p.m.
“Friday’s livestock sale is a chance for everybody to come out and support 4-H by purchasing farm-fresh local meat,” Minich said.
In the evening, the antique tractor pulls start at 6 p.m., with the main tractor pulls getting underway at 7 p.m.
Fair Week concludes on Saturday, with a full day’s lineup that starts at 10 a.m. with the mini horse pulls and horse pulls at the grandstand. The kiddie pedal tractor pull will be held at 11 a.m., with the Children’s Barn open on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m.
A Powerwheels Extravaganza at 6:30 p.m. will lead into the Derby Dogs Demolition Derby at 7 p.m., this time featuring trucks, mini-vans and full-size cars.
The remainder of the week also features Lions Club Bingo each day: from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday; and 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Carnival rides and midway will be open from 5 p.m. to closing on Thursday and Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to closing on Saturday.
“We’re hoping for good weather and three big nights to close out the fair,” Minich said, pointing to the fair’s $10 pay-one-price admission that includes rides and shows. “Bring the whole family; you don’t want to miss out on the best deal around.”