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Crow Wing County Fair workers Dave Schubert (left) and Larry Britton unloaded be

Families have waited for the Crow Wing County Fair all year and it’s finally here.

When you think of the county fair you think of sinking your teeth into cheese curds, fried elephant ears or mini doughnuts; or listening to live bands; and you can’t forget watching the demolition derby.

The fair runs Tuesday through Saturday and people shouldn’t be disappointed. The fair continues to be a free fair and a “dry” fair, as there will be no beer or adult beverages sold or allowed on the fairgrounds.

Steve Hesse, general manager of the fair, said organizers did not bring in any new event this year, as none of the entertainment caught their eye at this past year’s fair convention. However, he said there will be more vendors this year offering fun activities for the youths, and of course the adults will enjoy them, too. 

Some of the fun events from vendors include the water wars from a vendor in Pequot Lakes; K-Brothers Haunting, which will be a haunted house for all ages; “Fool the Guesser,” where people guess the weight and age to win prizes; and the “Brainerd Lakes Fight Mafia Fafi” sponsored by the Martial Arts School, which will consist of demonstrations.

Hesse said another new item will be held on Ag Day on Thursday, where there will be a free corn feed sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Grower’s Association. 

Hesse said the traditional medallion treasure hunt will be more challenging this year. Last year, Brainerd siblings found the medallion after the first three clues appeared in the Dispatch and found it the Thursday morning of the fair. The winner of the hunt wins $1,000. Four clues will be published in the Brainerd Dispatch and posted at 9 a.m. at the information booth at the fairgrounds starting Tuesday. One clue per day will be released. If the medallion is not found before 8 p.m. Friday, the fair will terminate the hunt and turn the prize over to charity.

The fair brings back other fun events including the “Mutton Bustin,”  geared for children ages 4-7 who weigh less than 55 pounds. They will get a chance to ride a sheep. The event takes place from 3-6 p.m. Thursday in the horse arena at the fairgrounds. The qualifying rounds are divided into two classes: First class for ages 4-5 and second class for 6-7. The top 10 riders will move on to the championship rounds that will be held Saturday night during the break at the bull riding event.

Hesse said there will be more than 200 vendors/booths at the fair for people to enjoy. There will be plenty of food vendors where people can get their favorite fair food. The informational and 4-H booths will be plenty where people can see what plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits are growing to checking out the Crow Wing County Historical Society.

The grandstand events begin at 7 p.m. each day of the fair and include the Demolition Derby on Tuesday; Moto Cross on Wednesday; Baja Rally Races Thursday and Friday; and bull riding on Saturday.

There also will be entertainment on Mills Free Stage that includes:

Tuesday: Moose River Band with Vern Bishop, 1-4:30 p.m.; Sherwin Linton, 6-10 p.m.

Wednesday: The Polka Beats, 1-4:30 p.m.; Alan Godage & Sundown, 6-10 p.m.

Thursday: Chmielewski Funtime Band, 1-3:30 p.m.; Cheyenne River Band, 6-10 p.m.

Friday: Teen talent contest, followed by a teen dance from 7-10 p.m. with The Regular Crowd band.

Saturday: Ray’s Promenaders, 4:30-6:30 p.m.; Kevin Anthony and the Twin City Playboys, 7-10 p.m.

Hesse said this is his last year organizing the fair since he is retiring. Hesse said he’s enjoyed planning the fair for the past three years, but said it’s time for him to move on. Hesse said after this year he’ll be involved in the county fair, but as a spectator.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851.