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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — After pausing in 2020 because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the Colfax Free Fair will be held again this year June 17 through June 20.
The Colfax Fair Board waited until April to make a decision about the Colfax Free Fair, said Steve Ackerlund, president of the fair board.
By mid-April, the fair board felt good about the progress on vaccinations and the decreasing infection rates, he said.
In February, the fair board felt it was a 50-50 chance that the fair would be held in June, but by mid-April, board members felt the chances were closer to 75 to 80 percent, Ackerlund said.
Most of the fair activities also are outdoors, which helps reduce the possibility of becoming infected with the coronavirus, he noted.
“I feel pretty good about it, especially since most of (the fair) is outdoors,” Ackerlund said.
With the higher infection rates earlier in the year, Ackerlund said he expects the animal exhibits at the fair will be somewhat fewer than in previous years.
Something new at the fair this year will be a new petting zoo.
The Country Acres Petting Zoo that has been at the Colfax Free Fair in previous years has retired, and Tiffany Schaffner, the agriculture teacher at Colfax High School, coordinated having the Outlaw Farms Petting Zoo at the fair on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Ackerlund said.
The Outlaw Farms Petting Zoo has unique animals, described as “from a camel to an alligator,” he said.
Another new event will be a cake auction on Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with trivia in the beer tent at 8 p.m., Ackerlund said.
On Sunday, a magician will be performing from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., he said.
Wristbands, which will cost $18, will be available two times on Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., as well as at other times throughout the fair, Ackerlund said.
Since Colfax is one of the first fairs of the year, and since activities have been restricted over the past year because of the pandemic, Ackerlund said he is hoping people are eager to get out and do something and will come to the fair.
In the 101-year history of the Colfax Free Fair, there were no fairs in 1942 and 1943, and it was not until 1948 that the Colfax Free Fair completely returned after World War II with fair exhibitors, a carnival and entertainment.
Here are some of the other events at this year’s Colfax Free Fair:
Judging starts at the fair on Thursday, June 17, with small animal judging at 12:30 p.m.
Thursday’s events also will include fireworks at 10 p.m, and wristbands can be used from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, June 18, livestock judging begins at 9 a.m.
There will be a band in the beer garden starting at 8 p.m. Friday, and fireworks will again take place at 10 p.m.
Wristbands can be used from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Dunn County Dairy Open Show also will return this year at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19.
A band will play in the beer garden beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday, June 20, will feature wristbands from noon to 4 p.m.
A non-denominational church service will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, and a chicken dinner will be held after the church service.
The Colfax FFA Alumni Auction will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.