Sedgwick County Fair wraps up with packed weekend

The final days of the Sedgwick County Fair can be bittersweet for a first-time 4-H kid.

It’s exciting because their animals finally get sold at a county fair, but it’s also sad because they’re giving up an animal they’ve grown close with, said Marti Johnson, the fair’s public relations director.

“There’s a lot of emotion there,” Johnson said. “The older kids usually come and buck them up a bit. The little guys have got to learn it’s part of agriculture.”

The livestock sale at the fair goes from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and is part of a variety of events going on in the final days of the fair.

The big attraction on Friday is the fair’s standard SEBRA Bull Blowout at 7 p.m., Johnson said. Before the “crazy cowboys” get on the bulls, however, some crazy kids have an opportunity at rodeo fame in the mutton bustin’ competition, Johnson said.

Picture a child, 5 to 7 years old, plopped atop a sheep as it runs across the arena, desperately struggling to hold on to the baaing animal.

“Little kid on the back of a sheep — hilarious,” Johnson said.

Talent of a different kind will be on stage at the Meritrust Credit Union “Fair’s Got Talent” event, which will conclude on Saturday night.

The second round of preliminary competition will be at 7 p.m. Friday on the fair’s Open Air Stage.

Entries include vocal solos, quartets, ventriloquists and standup comedians. The fair accepted online auditions via YouTube and picked 22 contestants from that pool.

“It draws a crowd every night,” Johnson said.

To wrap up the fair, Saturday’s Demolition Derby has been re-tooled slightly. This year, the lineup includes not only cars and farm combines — the “sumo wrestlers of the derby” — but lawnmower tractors. However, not just anybody can back their John Deere riding mower out of the garage and enter it in the derby, Johnson said. There are rules.

“It’s one of those uniquely American activities,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to watch it at least once — put it on your bucket list.”

And if nothing else attracts you to the fair, the amateur barbecue contest tasting should be reason enough, Johnson said.

“I love the way the fairgrounds smell on Saturday,” she said. “It’s like one ginormous barbecue pit.”