For the first time ever, the annual Bartholomew County 4-H Fair will kick off with a rock music extravaganza for nine days beginning Friday, June 23rd and running through Saturday, July 1st.
Known for its early Columbus shows, the Woomblies Rock Orchestra features 11 musicians, including a four-piece string section and two French horns. Their 7 p.m. concert in the stands has everything from Motown hits to classic rock. Single adult tickets are $5, but children 12 and under are admitted for free.
While fair attendance is returning to normal, 4-H club memberships have not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Membership at local clubs ranged from 810 to 840 in 2017 and 2018, according to Elisabeth Eaton, director of youth development at 4-H.
But due to the pandemic in 2020, that number dropped to 593 in 2021 before rising to 624 last year. While there are 611 members today, Eaton said that number appears low because of the unusually large number of teens completing their 10th and final year in 2022.
Rick Trimpe, chairman of the fair’s board of directors, said many of the current young people exhibiting livestock, horses and poultry will have multiple entries. But he also urged show patrons to check out the nonfarm exhibits, from technology to arts and crafts. Many can be found inside the REMC Family Arts Building.
Returning to the Midway for the second year in a row will be Kissel Entertainment. Kissel, which has offices in Okeana, Ohio, and Clanton, Alabama, promises to bring more rides never seen before in Bartholomew County, Trimpe said. Trimpe said the show board was impressed with Kissel’s 2022 midway meeting.
During the 9 days of the fair, various events will be held in the morning, afternoon and evening. For a complete list, look for the 4-H Activity Booklet, which will be distributed at The Republic on Thursdays.
Among those events that have proven to be fan favorites are:
Friday, June twenty three: The official opening time is 5 p.m. Buy a $30 wristband for unlimited fairway rides. Locally popular Night Owl Country Band will perform at the David Boll Theatre, while the Woomblies Rock Orchestra’s rock concert hits the stands at 7pm.
Saturday, June twenty four: Military Appreciation Day allows free parking for anyone with military ID. The Little Miss and Mister contest starts at 3:00 pm at the David Boll Theatre. One of the biggest crowds is expected to attend the Demolition Derby at 7pm in the stands. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12. The first of two Midnight Madness discounts starts at 8 p.m. Purchase a $25 wristband for unlimited rides until closing.
sunday june 25: The Antique Tractor Rally starts at noon in the grandstands, while the Baby Character Contest will be held at the Farm Bureau Building from 1-5 p.m. Midway opens at 3 p.m., unlimited rides with the purchase of a $35 wristband. The Farm Stock Tractor Pull and Truck Pull will be in the stands at 6:30pm, while the 4-H Fashion Review will begin at 7pm in the David Boll Theater
Monday, June 26: Spitting of watermelon seeds begins at 5:30 p.m. inside the Farm Bureau building. But weather permitting, one of the biggest events at the show is expected to be the Three Bar J Rodeo. Starts in the stands on Monday at 7pm. When the rodeo returns in 2022 after an absence of several years, it will draw the same size crowd as the demolition derby, Trimpe said.
Tuesday, June 27: From 5 p.m. until closing, customers can get $5 off a $30 wristband if they bring canned goods to donate to the pantry. The hottest event on Tuesday night will be the Tony Stewart Foundation-sponsored All-Star Tour Championship TQ Midget Race. Stewart, a Columbus native and NASCAR Hall of Famer, plans to attend and race unless something unexpected impacts his schedule, Trimpe said.
Wednesday, June 28: Traditionally called “Children’s Day,” the $25 wristband provides unlimited rides from 3 p.m. until closing. Columbus Karts will be held in the grandstands at 7 p.m. During the Adventure Days Carnival there will be activities for younger children at the David Boll Theater from 3pm to 4:30pm. At the same location, Sonya’s Dance Zone will offer free entertainment at 6pm.
Thursday, June 29: At the David Boll Theatre, the Columbus City Orchestra will perform a series of marches, show tunes and light classical pieces at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the Southern Indiana Dirt Drags will be held in the stands. It’s essentially diesel drag racing in a pickup truck, sprinting 150 to 200 feet in dirt. Unlimited ride wristbands cost $30 when it opens midway at 5 p.m., but if you buy one, you’ll get the second for free.
Friday, June 30: This is usually the busiest day for those on 4-H. Club events include the Champions Parade at the Pavilion at 5pm, Top Show and Livestock Awards from 6:30pm -7:30pm. The top musical attraction will be the Columbus East High School Choir at David Ball’s Performance Theater at 7 p.m. For midway enthusiasts, Friday is the last Midnight Madness event, with a $25 wristband for unlimited rides from 8 p.m. until closing.
Saturday, July 1: The final day of the show kicks off with a 4-hour livestock sale at the pavilion at 8.15pm. Halfway will be open from 3-10pm and wristbands are $35. The show’s second Demolition Derby will kick off in the stands at 7pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12.
For the first time, those with a travel trailer or recreational vehicle will be able to enjoy modern conveniences if they camp at the fairgrounds all week. The county spent $629,180 in federal COVID-19 relief funds to install new sewer service, electrical pedestals and water upgrades at the fairgrounds. Trimpe said the 100-plus connection points should be enough to accommodate midway workers and local residents with RVs or campers.