Fulton County Fair opens Friday 8.27

Written by David Green.

From Friday, August 29, through Thursday, September 4, the 151st Fulton County Fair is once again serving up its super-sized combo of world-class entertainment, family-friendly prices and a something-for-everyone philosophy that last year swelled the county’s population of roughly 43,000 to more than 281,000 during Fair Week.     

The Beach Boys—the most popular American pop group in history—bring their musical salutes to surfing, hotrods and teenage angst to the Fulton County Grandstand stage on Sunday, August 31.  During a near-half-century career, the Beach Boys have had dozens of hits, among them "Surfin' Safari," "Surfin' USA," "California Girls," "I Get Around," "God Only Knows," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "In My Room" and "Kokomo." 

Following the Beach Boys’ Sunday night concert, the Fair Board is sponsoring a free fireworks show in the Grandstand, back from last year by popular demand.

The Fair's Annual Labor Day Concert on Monday, September 1, features country music star Joe Nichols with Jake Owen. 

Nichols, who shot to fame with his first hit, “Brokenheartsville,” was named Top New Male Vocalist at the 2003 ACM Awards.  In that same year, he received the CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year and the CMA Horizon Award.  He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, three of them for his hit, "The Impossible." 

Nichol’s other hits include "I'll Wait for You" and his most recent, "It Ain't No Crime." 

Bob Wurst performs a free concert at 2 p.m. at the Veterans' Pavilion. The Van-Dells, a '50s’ and '60s’ band, is slated for a free South-Stage concert at 7:30 Saturday night.  

The Fair Board is offering free Grandstand admission to harness racing with pari-mutuel wagering.  Trotters and pacers take to the track on Saturday, August 30, at 1 p.m., Monday, September 1, at noon and Tuesday, September 2, at 6:30 p.m. 

On opening day, Friday, August 29, NTPA-sanctioned tractor and truck pulls power their way into the Fulton County Grandstand infield at 6:30 p.m.  Earlier in the day, out-of-field and antique tractor pulls open the Fair at 9 a.m. 

On Saturday, August 30, at 7:30 p.m., drivers in the Rough Truck Challenge fire up their high-powered engines for an exciting night of gear-jammin’ action. Plus, all those with grand-stand tickets will have the opportunity to ride the Dodge Raminator Ride Truck prior to the show.

Clashing Combines rumbles its way into the Grandstand infield at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 3.

Two big automobile demolition derbies – at 6 and 8:30 p.m. – end the 2008 Fulton County Fair with a bang on Thursday, September 4.

The fair features a wide variety of agricultural and livestock categories, rides line the midway and local performers entertain free of charge at the South Stage and Gospel Tent, the Veterans’ Free Ham and Bean Dinner on Saturday and the Golden Wedding Party on Sunday, an array of treats that range from milkshakes to lemonade, from sausage sandwiches to beef barbecue and from elephant ears to deep-fried Twinkies.  

New to the 2008 Fair is the World Class Whitetail Deer Exhibit, which features mounts of trophy-size whitetails. 

And, in response to the popularity of the “150 Years of Grain Harvesting” display at last year’s Fair, an all-new exhibit titled “Corn Harvesting Through the Years.”

Also making its first appearance at this year’s Fair is the 4-H 400 Backseat Driver Contest, which follows the Showman of Showmen contest in Spangler Arena on Tuesday, September 2.  Co-ed teams will maneuver an obstacle course in a golf cart; the male, who will drive, will be blindfolded, while the female gives him directions. 

In the middle of the Fairgrounds, the old firehouse/EMT station, has additional showers and restrooms.  At the south end of the Fairgrounds, fire crews and EMTs will be located at the building site of a much-needed new facility that will be completed by the 2009 Fair.  

The 2008 Fulton County Fair also offers special groups free admission on specified days. Veterans and their spouses will be admitted free on Saturday, August 30, till 6 p.m.; schoolchildren, on Junior Fair Day, Tuesday, September 2, (along with special ride prices from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.); and senior citizens ages 65 and better, on Wednesday, September 3, till 6 p.m.  Free admission does not include ticketed shows.

Country crooner and self-proclaimed Buckeye Bob Wurst will perform in a free concert at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at the Veterans' Pavilion to honor those who served America.  That night, at 7:30 p.m., the Van-Dells will appear in a free South-Stage concert.  Throughout Fair Week, singers and musicians will perform free of charge at the South Stage and at the Gospel Tent.  

Gate admission is just $5 a person, with children ages 15 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.  Parking is free, too. 

Visitors have access to free entertainment, shows, demonstrations, activities and displays.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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