The Sedgwick County Fair, a longtime Cheney staple, does not typically deviate from its time-tested formula of bull blowouts, street dances and softball tournaments.
This year, however, fair organizers decided it was time to freshen up the experience, said Marti Johnson, the fair’s public relations director.
“We want to keep things interesting while still keeping all the traditional stuff,” Johnson said.
Possibly the most obvious change is the change of dates. The fair is being held one week later than normal, which is a boon for 4-H kids entering their animals into contests, Johnson said.
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“The calves are bigger, the sheep are bigger – an extra week makes a big difference,” she said.
Because the fair is being held later, organizers decided to bring back the car show, which typically drew low turnout because it coincided with Automobilia’s Moonlight Car Show and Street Party in Old Town, Johnson said.
Fair organizers said they wanted to expand the fair’s most popular attraction: the street dance. It will be three days this year, Johnson said.
On Wednesday night, the street dance will have a classic rock theme; on Friday, a country theme; and on Saturday, “a mashup of everything,” she said.
On Thursday night, the piano players from Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar will perform on the fair’s open-air stage.
Finally, the “Fair Idol” competition, which pitted young singers against each other, has been renamed “Fair’s Got Talent” to include performers who aren’t necessarily vocal soloists, Johnson said. The lineup includes standup comedians, ventriloquists, vocal soloists, quartets and even the Cheney High School Dance Team.
“We’ve got everything under the sun,” Johnson said. “We really had the pick of the crop.”
Johnson said the Pride of Texas Carnival will cap off the fair, along with the traditional bull blowout and demolition derby.
Without that, “we’re not a real, honest-to-God, card-carrying county fair,” she said.
All events will take place at the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds, 300 S. Main, in Cheney.
Most events are free, while some require a fair button – $4 at the gate, $3 in advance – and others require paid tickets. For more information, visit the fair’s website at www.ourcountyfair.com.