BLUE EARTH - The 151st Faribault County Fair begins Tuesday with "lots of exciting things," says Sara Gack, fair manager.
"I heard someone say the chocolate-covered bacon is going to be here," she said, noting that several new food vendors will be available to try. "All your famous fair foods."
Also on tap: the 26th Annual Norwegian Fjord Horse Competition.
"They come from all over, Wisconsin and Iowa," Gack said.
The grandstand will be busy Tuesday night with the 4-H Fashion Show and Arts In, both starting at 6 p.m.
The 23rd Annual Talent Show will follow at 7 p.m. and will be "featuring a lot of good local entertainment," Gack said.
A new attraction will be the Butterfly House.
"It's like a mobile home, where you go in and butterflies are flying around and land on you," Gack said. "You can touch the butterflies and learn how to handle them.
Those who liked Cosmo Kid last year will be happy to know he's back.
"We were very impressed with him, his talents," Gack said. "Amazing what he can do with a spray can of paint. Just amazing the pictures he makes."
Freddie Prez is a new comedy act.
For those of a mechanical bent, the antique tractor and machinery show starts Tuesday. This year's featured tractor is the Minneapolis Moline and Massey-Harris.
The antique tractor parade will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday "with tractors from the county and beyond," Gack said.
The little ones may enjoy Kids Village, new this year. It has a sandbox, toys and puppet stage.
"It's a place for them to unwind," Gack said. "There are tables for the parents to sit at."
And there will be shade.
"That's the nice thing about our fairgrounds," Gack said. "We have a lot of trees. If we get a breeze and they sit under the giant oaks on the grounds, it's not too bad."
There are several contests: cribbage tournament, baby crawl, veggie race, minnow racing, seed-spitting and sock-a-sheep.
"You put socks on a sheep and have to get across the line with all four on," Gack said.
The Craft Shoppe opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
"You name it, it's there," Gack said, including furniture, pottery, jams and jellies, blankets, and floral arrangements. "A wide variety of arts and crafts."
Wednesday is Volunteer Recognition Day, with a special program at 1:30 p.m.
The Region 4 Horse competition starts with the 4-H judging.
"Make sure to watch the 4-H," Gack advised. "These 4-H-ers and FFAers have put a lot of time into getting their projects ready. Even if you don't watch the shows, at least look through the barns."
Thursday is Veterans' Day. Vets get free admission by showing their veterans card.
The day starts with all-you-can-eat pancakes at 8:30 a.m.
"The free will offering will go to the Bronze Star," Gack said.
There is a program set for 10:15 a.m. Thursday, with Mary Rose Varo performing at the Veterans Memorial Building.
Friday kicks off with the 4-H horse show at 8:30 a.m. and the Farm and Fair awards start at 1 p.m. Among the awards will be recognition for Marlin Krupp's 37 years on the fair board.
The Antique Tractor Parade begins at 6 p.m.
Saturday is Celebrating Kids Day and features the historical society's Tractor Ride, which leaves at 8:30 a.m. and comes back at 5 p.m., after swinging through Truman for lunch and visiting the Martin County Fairgrounds.
"It's always been a big hit," Gack said. "Fun to watch them leave, and when they come back, everybody says that was awesome.
The Farmers Share Meal will start at noon and includes a pork sandwich, chips and water for $1.
"The dollar is the amount the farmer receives for products sold," Gack said.
The 46th annual demo derby starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed with fireworks.
"We'll go out with a bang," Gack said.
Music lovers will be certain to find something to their liking with the wide range of acts coming: Bud Berhow of Truman; Shelly Berndt of Easton; Johnny Holm Band; Dale P. and the Good Time Band; Kingery Family; Wendinger Band; the Woodpicks; Mankato Area Community Band; Lyndon Peterson; Blue Wolf; Boss Grant and the Johnny Cash Revue; MC Express; Bob and the Beachcombers; and Nikita Welder.
"There's always something going on," Gack said. "We try to have a variety of things for all ages. It's a great social event to talk with friends and people you haven't seen."