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New events will liven up activities at Sedgwick County Fair

Ross Scheer, maintenance crew member for the Sedgwick County fairgrounds, spent this week trimming trees and cleaning buildings to make room for vendors at the Sedgwick County Fair.

Trudi Hill, employee of the Pride of Texas Shows, spent Tuesday setting up the funnel cake booth where she works.

When the annual county fair starts tonight with rides, vendors and events in place, it will be the result of a nine-month planning process, said Marti Johnson, vice president of the Sedgwick County Fair board. The fair, which lasts until Saturday, takes place at the fairgrounds in Cheney.

For Johnson, who has been on the fair board since 1992, the county fair is a staple in her summer schedule.

"How can you have summer without the fair?" she said.

Three new fair events, which Johnson said will add some extra pizzazz, are scheduled for Saturday.

This year at the fair's demolition derby, scheduled for 7 p.m., there will also be demolition combines. Johnson, who saw the combines in September, described the event as a clash of the titans.

"It's pretty entertaining, let me tell you," she said.

Also new this year are a hot-dog-eating contest, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., and a snake exhibit from the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, scheduled for 10 a.m.

"What they claim is if you're afraid of snakes, you should come to this show and you won't be when it is over," Johnson said.

Besides its new events, the fair will feature favorites from past years, including the Fair Idol Competition and the softball tournament.

Twelve-year-olds Darik Benson and Jared Craig, who both live in Cheney, said they were looking forward to eating funnel cakes at the fair — something that Hill, the carnival worker, said is not uncommon.

"Every spot we go to, everybody is ready for a funnel cake as soon as we get there," she said.

Parking and entrance to the fair is free, although some events require tickets or a fair button, which can both be purchased at the fairgrounds. For access to about 25 rides through the Pride of Texas Shows, fairgoers can purchase wristbands or tickets.

Johnson said people of all ages can find something they enjoy at the county fair, especially because it has a safe, relaxing environment.

It's a lot of fun," she said. "You can bring your whole family out."

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