Wilsons Family Show will provide the carnival at the Henry County Fair this year, according to Rick Dobbels, president of the Henry County Fair Board.
Wilsons is a family owned and operated traveling amusement park servicing many events throughout the midwestern United States according to their Web site. They own and operate over 20 amusement rides, various midway games and have a variety of food vendors.
Wilsons Family Show will offer armbands from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, through Saturday, June 22. They will also offer them from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 20, and Sunday, June 23.
The fair has also booked a chain saw artist by the name of Jesse Beeson. Pictures of his work can be seen on the fair Web site or on their Facebook page.
Another new activity, includes four different photo ops.
"They are like the things people see on vacation that they can stick their heads through and pictures can be taken of them," said Amy (Jeffries) Moskowitz. "It should be fun!"
Three individuals will be honored this year as "Friends of the Fair." They are Jerry Hardin, Rich Vyneman and the late Bob Youngstrom. They will be recognized and presented plaques in the grandstand on the opening night, Tuesday.
Several new attractions have been added to the line up this year.
A Cutest Baby Contest has been added. The contest is for newborns through 24 months as of June 23. Entries were due Monday, June 3.
Dan Barth's, Old Time Medicine Show will be another new feature.
"From his antique wagon, which is a faithful reproduction of an original Medicine Show Wagon, 'Doc' Barth uses magic, ventriloquism and audience participation, to recreate the variety performances of years gone by," said Rick Dobbels. "The show was recognized and recorded by the Smithsonian Institute in 1980."
Blend, a cappella 50's at its best, will be featured Tuesday through Thursday at the fair.
"Blend is the a cappella doo-wop group bringing back hits from the '50s and '60s with a twist of fun," said Dobbels. "They make very clear in their frivolous act that they love what they do. You will feel like you are a part of the show as Blend brings classic hits such as Only You, Barbara Ann, Don't Be Cruel, and many more back to life in a new way!"
Dobbels said the fair board saw this group of guys at the fair convention in January.
"You won't want to miss this family-oriented show," he said. "They were out of this world."
Brushfire is back by popular demand according to Dobbels. "Their show was a huge hit last year so we're bringing them back for another show this year on an even better night, Friday night," said Dobbels. "Brushfire blends five extremely talented musicians, with incredible harmonies, an explosive stage show and a fresh, dynamic sound produced by an array of instruments to create an unforgettable experience for the audience."
Page 2 of 2 - Lawn mower races are slated for Wednesday night and motorcycle races will be featured on Sunday in the grandstand.
Other favorites will remain at the fair. The queen pageants will be held on Tuesday evening, all in the grandstand; the tractor and truck pull on Thursday evening, Mr. Henry County contest Friday before Brushfire and the demo is slated for Saturday evening. Jacquie Imhoff of Cambridge, last year's senior division talent contest winner, will perform Saturday night before the demo with her fire breathing hula hoop.
Other activities include a talent contest, an Alpha 1 Volleyball Tournament, Kid's Pedal Pull, Adult Pedal Pull, a Pit Master's Cook-Off, Extreme Cowboy Challenge, Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, Master Showmanship and much, much more.
There will be open, junior open and 4-H livestock shows daily.
The art hall will also be open daily featuring items displayed by Henry County residents.
On Sunday, fair goers can gain admission to the grandstand by simply bringing at least one canned food item per person. All the canned food items will be distributed to food pantries throughout the county.
"I think we have one of the best fair boards in years," said Dobbels. "We all work together and everyone gets a long well."
Other officers include: Harold Cooper of Cambridge, vice president; Terry DeBackere of Cambridge, secretary and Sharon Wexell of Bishop Hill, treasurer. Directors include: Tom Bosold, Osco; Chris Dobbels, Cambridge; Duane Miller, Annawan; Amy Moskowitz, Rock Island; Ryan Nelson, Andover; Bob Steele, Geneseo and Jake Young, Cambridge. Craig Anderson, Galva, is the beef association representative and Rebecca Ebert is the 4-H Extension representative.
Dobbels said there is also other good news for the fair.
"John Edwards Construction has replaced all of the water lines on the fairgrounds," he said. "They donated all the machines and labor for the project and we only had to supply the materials. This donation will save us an endless amount of money. The water bill was one of the biggest bills we had annually because of all the leaks. We are very, very thankful for their contribution to the fair."
A new hog building has also been constructed thanks to some generous people who donated it this year.
Dobbels also wants to reminder residents the fair offers rentals of barns/buildings throughout the year for shows, fundraisers, benefits, etc. They also offer winter storage.
Deere Harvester Credit Union will also provide an ATM on the grounds during fair week.
"We can always use anyone who wants to volunteer during fair week," said Moskowitz. "Just stop by the fair office, and we will be glad to have you."
For more information, contact Dobbels at (309) 507-1974 or check out the fair's Web site. The fair's Facebook page will also be updated daily. A full schedule of activities are posted on the Web site.