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MARION -- In the formative days of county fairs, the events were designed to showcase a region’s best agricultural efforts.

As time went on, the events expanded and attractions were added for fairgoers of all ages to enjoy. Carnival rides and games began populating midways and automobiles starting racing around tracks or colliding into each other in demo derby arenas.

For some, though, the agricultural roots remain a prevalent part of the present and a means of honoring the past.

“They still try to maintain that tradition,” said Frank Colombo of the Williamson County Saddle Club. “It’s a long tradition.”

Colombo and his organization will do their part in preserving the past with two events during the upcoming Williamson County Fair, which runs from Monday, Aug. 4, through Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Saddle Club hosts a gaited and Western horse show at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, and a speed horse show at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. Both events, held at the Justin Eli Dodd Memorial Arena at the county fairgrounds, are free to the public.

“It’s one of the best shows we have,” said fellow Saddle Club board member Ron Colborn. “There are more kids and more people for that show than our others throughout the year. Quite a few people come out for it.”

Both Colombo and Colborn expressed their appreciation for the fair and the continued involvement of the Saddle Club, as equines have been a part of a legacy spanning more than 155 years.

“It’s a big plus for the county,” Colborn said. “Through the years, there has been a lot of great entertainment. My family and kids always enjoyed that.”

The fair schedule includes the following events:

Monday, Aug. 4

Harness racing, 1 p.m., free

Tuesday, Aug. 5

Harness racing, 1 p.m., free

Carnival, 5-10 p.m., $15 all-day pass or $2 single ticket

Ronnie McDowell concert, 8 p.m., $8 general admission or $10 individual chair box seat

Wednesday, Aug. 6

Carnival, 5-10 p.m., $15 all-day pass or $2 single ticket

Southern Illinois Worship Center Gospel Night, 7 p.m., free

Thursday, Aug. 7

Carnival, 5-10 p.m., $15 all-day pass or $2 single ticket

Rodeo, 7:30 p.m., $8 general admission or $10 individual chair box seat or $15 pit pass

Friday. Aug. 8

Carnival, 5-10 p.m., $15 all-day pass or $2 single ticket

RhythmEffects Crew, 6 and 9 p.m., free

Gaited and Western horse show, 6 p.m., free

Tractor pull, 7 p.m., $8 general admission or $10 individual chair box seat or $15 pit pass

Moccasin Creek concert, 8 p.m., $10 general admission

Saturday, Aug. 9

Garden tractor pull, noon, free

Carnival, 5-10 p.m., $15 all-day pass or $2 single ticket

Speed horse show, 6 p.m., free

Demolition derby, 7 p.m., $8 general admission or $10 individual chair box seat or $15 pit pass

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