This week the Athens County Fair rolls into town. Between the mountains of cotton candy that are going to be eaten, and the guttural roars expected from the various tractor pulls, we’re sure fired up for a thrilling week of fun that’s farm friendly. County fairs are many things to their local communities, but in ours, they stand out as an annual event that brings families and neighbors together.
No one wastes their time dressing up in their Sunday’s best or lathering on perfume and cologne. It’s a week full of wholesome family fun and entertainment that requires only yourself, friends, the kids down the block, and maybe grandma and grandpa if their up to weather. And speaking of weather, with the summer that we’ve been having- it’s either going to be raining buckets and you’ll need to paddle your way in with rain boots and a poncho, or it’ll be a type of heat comparable with the Mojave Desert and all my previous advice regarding an oar or paddle will need to be thrown aside in favor of sandals, sunscreen, and enough water to hydrate the thriving herds of camels in Laurence of Arabia (I hope there’s still a younger generation that appreciates this movie for what it really is, an undying classic), but I digress. This year’s fair is fourteen days jam-packed with events (mower derby anyone?) and full of various attractions (insert petting zoo) that’s sure to entice those of all ages. Get ready for another year of corndog filled diets and mud-stained boots; come enjoy the Athens County family a-fair!
The fair is hosting a Veteran’s Day on Monday, August 10th to thank those that have dedicated their time to our nation’s military. In honor of the special day, all veterans attending the fair only have to show their ID to gain free entry into the fair grounds. The fair is working with WOUB and Ohio University students to create a documentary focused around our veterans, come out and show your support on Monday, there’s going to be enough fun and entertainment for all!
Highlighted are the most popular and memorable events to help you in your planning for the week, check them out below!
The Tennessee based country rock band has been stirring up the dust around Nashville and belting out acts that have record labels across the south taking notice of their shimmering presence both on and off the stage. Luckily for us, they’ll be kicking up the crowd at this year’s Athens County Fair. The band plays at 8:00 PM at the Grandstand Tuesday night, you’ll want to get there early to find and reserve a great spot to listen to these up and coming country stars!
Kids’ Day 8/12
Here you go, a great opportunity to take your kids to the fair and if their twelve years or younger and you arrive before 3:30 PM, they’re granted FREE entry! For being a kid! It doesn’t get any better than that. Hundreds of prizes will be given away to children of all ages, a few lucky kids will even walk (or ride) home with a brand new bicycle. Kids Day events and attractions are found on the hillside stage. Chances are you enjoy the free things in life and your kids enjoy the fair; so why not get the best of both worlds and make everyone happy. Get your kids in free on Wednesdays starting at noon until 3:30 PM.
Standing back a safe distance from the racing field might be advised as the mud will be flying for this year’s Moto Enduro race, an event with high levels of speed and sharp turns through this year’s race track. Only for the strong of heart, and tough of mind and body, the race is test of endurance and leaping jumps in this fast-paced heart throbbing event that will likely entertain and amaze those of all ages. Turning away for more than a minute will lead to disappointment as a new obstacle or jump lies around every new corner. Spectators to this year’s gnarly Moto Enduro race can expect log jumps, mud holes, rock piles and sky-high firewood pits to name just a few.
If there’s wheels and it moves moderately fast enough, we can smash it! The Mower and Car Demolition Derby is going to show us new ways to take out our frustration, by wrecking up cars that can’t be fixed otherwise. Why take it to the scrap pile when we’ll be starting our own at the Athens County Fair. Cars from all over Southeastern Ohio will be making their way into the mud pits in an attempt to wreak as much carnage on the opposing entries. This event isn’t for the faint of heart as there will be numerous flips, rolls, and head-to-head action amongst cars and their drivers.
A noble steed is an animal every farmer should have, but a noble steed that can place first in the Athens County Fair is one well worth its pull and the chance at prize money. The Horse Pull for this year’s fair takes place on Friday starting at 5:00 PM with these amazingly strong, but gentle creatures. There’s two weight classes for this year’s pull, meaning twice the fun and two times as many horses to admire! A great event for horse-lovers as you can approach the staging area to see the animals at work and in action.
The fair is welcoming a new event to this year’s schedule, Go Cart Racing is here, it’s fast, and there’s money on the line; a guaranteed purse of nearly $3000 (that’s a lot of green). With prize money on the line, the race is going to heat up fast as competitors zip through the tracks, peeling past spectators at blinding speeds and whipping up dirt and mud in their mad dash to the finish line.
Truck & Tractor Pull 8/15
The fair wouldn’t be complete without a rip-roaring truck and tractor pull to stir up the crowds and ignite the cheers from onlooking spectators as these powerful machines run back and forth. It could be described as THE must-see event during the fair, with nine separate classes ranging from small engine cars to the heavy hitting king of the road, semi trucks and turbo tractors dueling for supremacy in this year’s 164th annual Athens County Fair.
If you can’t make the events this week and still want the experience, there’s no need to worry. There are several ongoing events I’ve listed to keep the good times rollin’ well after the work week is through.
Quilt National 2015 Now through 9/7
Stop by the Dairy Barn Arts Center to immerse yourself into the world of artistic quilting. The exhibit at Quilt National displays a reverence for the lessons taught by the makers of the heritage quilts. You may go for the quilts, but you’ll stay for the culture. The Dairy Barn is an Athens’ icon and has helped shape the regions’ art scene for decades and we’re sure that its continued influence will last for decades to come.
Chesterhill Produce Auction, Mondays and Thursdays through October
The Chesterhill Produce Auction was born from nothing more than an idea. An idea to remind a community about the importance of farming and cooperation. As the idea grew and the auction began to increase in popularity, the CPA brought to light the importance of food in a community. Food brings people together. Chesterhill is a must see for those interested in self-sustainable living and wholesome organic produce. It’s an ideal one-stop shop for those that love to can and preserve their food. Here’s a video for CPA’s full story.
Athens Farmers Market Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
The Athens Farmers Market remains one of the state’s largest outdoor markets as well as an Athens’ staple. It’s a must see for those searching for fresh, local produce and the area’s passionate culture. You’ll not only find culture, but friendly conversation and a basket full of knowledge on a variety of growing techniques as well as the farmers’ own tips and tricks on preparing their goods for your dinner table.
Nelsonville Farmers Market, Saturdays through October
Stroll through the Nelsonville Farmers’ Market to purchase the season’s freshest produce, yummy baked goods and a couple of plants for your own vegetable garden. Take advantage of the summer sun and abundance of rain we’ve been having in the area. The weather may be troublesome at times, but it’s great for the thirsty veggies in the fields all day. The farmer’s market is sure to be teeming with fresh produce and meats as animals are fattening up off the thick grass grown in this especially wet summer.
Love Athens too? Check out these great upcoming events
Stuart’s is once again able to bring the star-studded power of musician, Keb’ Mo’ to Athens County and the City of Nelsonville! Keep an eye out for more information as the date draws closer because with a recording sheet that’s longer than his guitar, Keb’ Mo’ provides a thrilling night of musical entertainment at the Opera House. He’ll be bringing familiar songs that can remind you of B.B. King, the Dixie Chicks, and Joe Cocker. He’s collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. Book your seats early because you won’t want to miss his understated excellence with this live performance!