Central Iowa Fair to pack entertainment with livestock

T-R file photo The 2021 Central Iowa Fair will bring back entertainment and activities along with 4H and FFA events. 4H and FFA participants, such as 2018 fair participants Maci Kelber, left, and Carli Pfantz, right, will still get a chance to feature exhibits and show livestock.

The Central Iowa Fair will be back in Marshalltown next month with a packed schedule of attractions.

The fair attracts thousands of Iowans to Marshalltown and the Central Iowa Fairgrounds every year, with youth from around Iowa coming to show livestock and their family members tagging along to cheer them on.

Last year, only the 4H and FFA youth events happened and all other activities were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year the entertainment returns.

The 2021 Central Iowa Fair fair takes place July 14 through July 17.

Big events include the crowning of the Central Iowa Fair Queen, Monster Arm Wrestling, youth rodeo, pig races, a classic car show, bull riding, mud volleyball tournament, a kid’s activities area and live music each night on the big stage.

Plus, 4H and FFA members will show their exhibits and livestock to compete for the top prizes. Cattle, sheep, horses, goats, chickens, pigs and dogs will all have their own shows at the fair.

Planning for the fair is year round, with a board of 13 volunteer members working throughout the year.

“There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that people don’t always realize,” fair manager Shannon Espenscheid said. “Whether it’s getting signage ahead of time, picking up some gates donated for barriers so there’s not parking throughout the fairgrounds, making sure that exhibitors that need power are in a spot that they can get to it, setting up pens and tables and moving things around so that when you come to the fair everything runs smoothly and people have the amenities that they’re used to at a fair and have a fun time and safe time.”

Set up for the fair will begin the weekend before with staging tables for indoor exhibits and the show ring.

Espenscheid said she thinks plenty of people are excited and ready to attend.

“There are thousands of people that come,” she said. “It’s not just for Marshalltown or Marshall County. With the kids being involved then that involves grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles. It’s really a family event.”

Being an event planner, she said she’s just excited to see the fair finally happen after all the work and preparation.

“I like seeing people have fun, I like hosting things and organizing them and seeing it happen, so I’m just happy to do that,” Espenscheid said.

For a full list of events and their start times, visit www.centraliowafairgrounds.net.


Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.


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