ANNA — Union County fairgrounds is a hive of activity in preparation for the 137th Union County Fair, which starts Friday.
On Wednesday, workers were checking power and lights in livestock areas and carnival rides were going up. The fair runs Friday through Aug. 27.
With a total solar eclipse Monday, the fair board made a few adjustments.
“We are ready," said Dale Moreland, fair secretary. "We have purchased eclipse glasses for employees and will have them for sale in the office."
The carnival, which usually opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays, will open at 1 p.m. Monday. Parking will be allowed on the infield for the eclipse. Other activities will continue as usual, with junior tractor operator contest at 3 p.m. and Steve Hornbeak and the Main Street Players at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Sonshine Amusements will again provide the carnival, as they have done for more than 20 years.
“They have six new rides for this year,” said Mike Yates, fair president.
Harness racing will return to the fair at noon Saturday at the grandstand after a one-year hiatus because of state funding issues. Also, heavy horses will be back this year.
Each year, the fair board tries to make an improvement to the grounds. This year, they just finished a $6,000 project on the horse ring.
“It’s definitely an improvement,” Chris Hodges said.
Prices will be the same. Admission to the fair is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Parking is $2 per vehicle. Family passes are available for $20, which includes admission and parking on the fair grounds.
Fair entertainment will include the Ranch Rodeo at 7 p.m. Friday, gaited and Western horse show at 6 p.m. Saturday, queen contest at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Steven Hornbeak and Main Street Players on Monday, antique tractor pull at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, tractor pull at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Championship Rodeo at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and demolition derby at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Chris Hodges, superintendent for the demolition derby, said the derby is probably the most popular event of the fair. It will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the grandstand.
“That’s really the event that pays the bills,” Moreland said.
He explained that five years ago, 66 percent of the money paid out came from the state. Now, they fund about 13 percent.
Support from the local community is a different story. Moreland said all the local businesses buy ads in the fair book.
“We appreciate all the support we get from the local community,” Yates said. “And, we’ve got a good bunch of volunteers.”
“Our community really comes out and supports us,” Hodges said.
More information is available by calling the fair office at 618-833-8923.