By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The 97th Colfax Free Fair starts Thursday (June 23) and runs through Sunday.
Sponsored by the Colfax FFA Alumni and the Russell-Toycen American Legion Post 131, this year’s fair will have something for everyone: 4-H animals, midway rides and games, local food stands, free entertainment at the grandstand, a bean bag tournament, meat animal auction, a petting zoo, the Dunn County Dairy Open Show, live bands in the American Legion Garden and fireworks.
As always, the Colfax Free Fair features free parking, free admission and free entertainment.
“New” at the fair this year will be the brand-new Holden Lutheran Church fair stand.
After the fair last year, congregation members voted to build a new fair stand at the fairgrounds.
Construction started last fall, and the new Holden food stand was finished this spring.
The livestock barn at the fairgrounds is “new” too — or at least it looks new.
The Colfax FFA Alumni went on a fund-raising campaign to gather money for putting new tin on the stock barn so that now it matches the new Holden food stand, the new steel on the arts and crafts building and the new refreshment building and beer garden.
The livestock barn also has a new permanent lean-to on the south side for housing cattle during the Dunn County Open Dairy Show on Saturday.
In addition, the FFA food stand has had some work done as well, with a remodeled kitchen.
If you haven’t been to the Colfax Free Fair in a while, you’ll want to come and see how spiffy the fairgrounds is looking these days.
Fireworks will be held at 10 p.m. Friday.
The Colfax Free Fair starts at 1 p.m. Thursday with the judging of animal projects in the livestock barn, featuring rabbits, small animals and poultry.
Also at 1 p.m. Thursday, judging of arts and crafts, Exploring and Cloverbuds will be held in the arts and crafts building.
The judging schedule continues on Friday at 9 a.m. with swine, followed by goats, dairy, beef and sheep.
At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the Dunn County Open Dairy Show will be held in the livestock barn.
The estimated milking time at the portable milking parlor will be 3 p.m.
Midway rides at the fair will be provided by A&P Enterprises.
The midway opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, at 3 p.m. Friday, at 1 p.m. Saturday and at noon on Sunday.
Wrist bands are $20 this year, and wrist band times are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The carnival closes at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Entertainment will be available at the grandstand and at the American Legion Garden.
From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jordan Herrick will provide music at the grandstand.
From 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, the American Legion Garden will feature Steele Horse D.J. and karaoke.
On Friday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Reither Boyz will provide Irish music and the Bloomer Jump-ropers will be appearing as well.
From 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday at the American Legion Garden, Probable Cause will provide music.
Saturday’s entertainment will be music by the Gustum Family from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the grandstand.
At 7 p.m. Saturday at the grandstand will be the awards ceremony for grand champion, reserve champion and showmanship recipients.
This year the championship recipients will receive a gift card in addition to their ribbon but attendance at the awards ceremony is mandatory to receive the gift card.
From 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Hickory will be playing in the American Legion Garden.
For entertainment at the grandstand, plan on bringing your own lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.
An all-denominations church service will be held at the grandstand at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Following the service will be the Kiwanis chicken dinner.
The Colfax FFA Alumni auction to sell the animal projects of FFA and 4-H members will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to meat animals, the auction features flower baskets and items donated by local businesses, such as pizzas from A Little Slice of Italy.
This year’s auction will include recognition of the donors who contributed to the livestock barn remodeling project.
The bean bag tournament will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The cost is $10 per two-person team.
The tournament is 100 percent payback.
Registration for the tournament is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.