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Great weather, good times: Crow Wing County Fair has something for everyone

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Sam Morken and son Braxton Morken eat cheescurds Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Crow Wing County Fair. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 2

It was a picture-perfect day to enjoy the 2018 Crow Wing County Fair, and people took advantage of the partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures by turning out in droves.

Gwenn Larson has been to the county fair about half of a dozen times, but the 76-year-old keeps returning to the free fair because it is relatively small in size.

"You can get to see everything and it's close by," said Larson, who hails from Lincoln, north of Cushing. "And it's nice, clean and organized."

Friend Addy Crosby and Larson were looking forward Thursday, Aug. 2, to buying some deep-fried cheese curds to enjoy from Bobick Concessions of Delano, one of many food stands.

"I like the fair. It's the first time I've been here," said Crosby, an 83-year-old resident of Cushing. "You're not getting run over by people. You can go see and visit stuff."

The seniors decided against going on any of the carnival rides at the fairgrounds located along Southeast 13th Street even though they were within earshot of the squeals of joy by children.

"I wanted to, but she's afraid even though I'm a lot older than her," Crosby said with a laugh as she pointed to Larson.

Old and young, parents and their children, couples and friends—Day Three of the five-day fair proved to be a hit for the mostly outdoor event.

April Sizenbach returned to the fair Thursday with three of her children "oohing and aahing" at creatures great and small at the rabbit building that included chicks.

"We're enjoying it. We're just walking around a lot of the booths, seeing the animals and checking out the giveaways," said Sizenbach, a 30-year-old from Princeton.

Last year, the monster trucks were the new fair attraction and broke attendance records, according to fair manager Gary Doucette. A new ticket booth was built this year with six windows to alleviate waiting in lines.

"I like the diversity of the fair. There's a lot going on, a lot of interesting things to learn about and look at," said Jack Schaefer, a 15-year-old from Brainerd.

From corn dogs to corn on the cob, field crops to photography, or turkey legs to pork chops, the annual event really has something for everyone, but it won't last forever. The fair ends Saturday.

"It surprises me how many things there really are here," Jack said.

An amateur talent contest and Brainerd Baja Rally Races at the grandstand are a couple of the highlights of the fair entertainment Friday, Aug. 3, but some prefer a more passive approach.

"I just like to walk around and see everything," said Bobbie Germanson, 79, of Brainerd.

"I don't eat a lot ... but as I leave the fair, I go get a monster (elephant) ear."

The first "annual fair" was in Brainerd on Oct. 5, 1872, and was periodically in Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Crosby before settling in Lum Park in Brainerd in 1937 and later moving to land along 13th Street in Crow Wing Township in 1962.

The county fair is one of the top five largest fairs in the state, according to its organizers, and began as an agricultural event where residents could exhibit products and livestock.

"What I love about the fair is just all the animals ... especially where they are just baby animals," said Grace Bostrom, a 19-year-old nanny who graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School.

"I love that because I grew up with lots of pets and lived on a farm, so it's fun to come back and see that."