Central Iowa Fair wraps up return

The Central Iowa Fair wrapped up the week with a packed day of family fun.

Sunny and 70 degree weather brought fair goers out and about Saturday to enjoy mud volleyball, comedy shows, fair food, kids activities and to cheer on 4H and FFA youth in livestock shows. The Central Iowa Fair was unable to host entertainment last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year organizers were able to bring back vendors and activities in full force.

Longtime fair attendee Mike Poe made his way to the fairgrounds Saturday on what he called a perfect day of weather.

“I had some homemade ice cream and went through the buildings, did a lot of visiting and watched some mud volleyball which is cool, it really gets the kids going,” Poe said. “It’s been very interesting. I’m seeing things I’ve never seen here before.”

One new thing Poe said he saw at the fair was the “Tumbleweed Crossing Wild West Comedy Gunfight and Stunt Show,” which filled a captive audience with laughter as actors shot off prop guns in a humorously staged cowboy stand-off.

However, Poe said he noticed there wasn’t as much livestock to be shown at this year’s fair.

“Usually the livestock buildings would just be jammed full, but it’s not there like it used to be,” Poe said. “I don’t know if that’s because there’s less farms or there’s just not as many kids getting involved.”

The Central Iowa Fair’s last day was closed out by bull riding at the grandstand and live music performances from central Iowa musicians Adam Whitehead and Brian James Schram.

Central Iowa Fairgrounds manager Shannon Espenscheid said it was a great feeling to have the fairgrounds populated after last year’s modified fair.

“Wednesday turned out a little shaky with the weather, but otherwise we had great crowds and I think everyone just enjoyed various different offerings that we had and it just went great,” Espenscheid said. “People were just happy to get out and ready to go out. People like fairs and festivals and town celebrations.”

She said the two major hits were the comedy gun show and the bull riding, which drew the largest crowds and received the most positive reactions.

In the next few weeks, the Central Iowa Fair board will get together to determine what worked well this year and what changes will be made going into next year’s fair.

“We like to change things up and offer different things,” Espenscheid said. “There’s some great entertainment options out there and of course we have some local favorites as well, so we’ll just have to look at that as the weeks go by.”

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


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