By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
The 4-H horse, dog and cat shows are history.
Barrel-racing is done and other events in the arena, including the Nickel Scramble and Catch-an-Animal contest Tuesday, are finished.
Three hours of entering 4-H, FFA and open class projects kept people busy in the exhibit building Tuesday morning, and market animals are being made comfortable in their pens after coming in Tuesday, as well.
But, so much remains as the Chase County Fair now kicks into high gear.
Wednesday is a big day on the grounds with the opening of the expo, considered one of the best in the region. More than 100 exhibitors will be spread out over the northwest grassy area of the grounds and inside two exhibit buildings.
In addition will be the numerous food booths and places for that Chase County Fair food that comes just once a year.
After a day of judging Tuesday, the 4-H, FFA and open class exhibit building opens for the first time Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday morning also marks the first livestock shows when swine, sheep and goats will be judged, along with their owners for showmanship skills.
Due to the avian bird flu outbreak earlier this year, all poultry shows in the state were cancelled, including those at county fairs.
Extension Educator Debbie Kuenning said Chase County 4-H youths registered for poultry showmanship are being encouraged to bring in a poster and talk about it or give a video presentation for the showmanship competition this year, which will follow Wednesday’s 2 p.m. rabbit show.
Wednesday also marks the first show in the grandstand area when Christian group Sanctus Real performs at 7 p.m. Tickets for $12 each can be purchased in the ticket booth on the grounds.
The Heart of America carnival and Lions Bingo also begin four-day runs on Wednesday. The carnival opens at 5 p.m. with a $25 ride-a-thon for unlimited rides that day until 11 p.m. There are ride specials each day through Saturday, or riders can opt for a mega ride pass for $59.95 that is good for unlimited rides all week.
Lions bingo opens at 3 p.m. Wednesday and continues each day through Saturday. Friday and Saturday, the stand opens at 1 p.m.
An 8 p.m. square dance in the open air pavilion will feature caller Lucky Kochenhower of Gering. People can participate or just come and watch, according to organizers.
Opening with the ABATE breakfast, which is also held Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 a.m. in the Eagles food stand, and ending with the demolition derby, Thursday is a busy day.
A big 4-H/FFA event arrives Thursday when the beef show starts at 8:30 a.m. in the show arena.
Fair-goers will have a chance to see entertaining amateur talent at 1 p.m. in the open air pavilion at the High Plains Radio Talent Search. The overall winner here will advance to the Galaxy of Stars Talent Search at the State Fair.
Also performing during the Talent Search will be the 9th St. Singers show choir from Chase County Schools.
At 3:30 p.m., ventriloquist David Malmberg will perform the first of three shows in the open air pavilion. Others will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Kids shouldn’t miss the Penny Dive at the Imperial swimming pool, which adjoins the fairgrounds on the east. That starts at 4 p.m.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., it’s the 27th edition of the fair’s demo derby coordinated by the Imperial Jaycees in the arena.
Four-H/FFA contest events conclude Friday at the 9 a.m. round robin showmanship where youths will display their best showmanship skills with sheep, swine, beef and a horse.
The 4-H/FFA livestock auction will draw buyers to the show arena later in the day at 2 p.m.
The pedal tractor pull for youths age four to 12 starts at 12:30 p.m. in the open air pavilion, with registration starting an hour earlier. The top winners in each age group advance to State Fair, and additional local recognition will be given.
The first of two horseshoe pitching contests arrives Friday at 1 p.m. next to the show arena. Friday’s open class contest will be followed by a Chase County-only contest on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Friday night’s grandstand concert featuring country music star Jerrod Niemann with special guest Haley & Michaels is set for 7:30 p.m.
An added feature Friday will be a performance by Time Trap that will play music in the grandstand area after the show. People are welcome to stay and listen to the band featuring Brad Moline, Phil Goddard, Jeff Wallin and Greg Wallin. Only ticket holders for the Friday Niemann show will be able to attend.
Starting early with the 37th annual Chase County Fair Run in front of Chase County Schools, Saturday is another big day.
Registration starts at 6:30 a.m., and the 5K, 10K and mile races take off at 7:30 p.m. While winners of those races are being tabulated, a half-mile kids’ run (age 12 and under) will start at 8:45 a.m. on the school track.
All youths entered in any of the races will compete for free. Older participants have an $18 fee that includes a t-shirt and chance for additional prizes.
The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and will travel through downtown Imperial. See story and route on page B5.
After the parade, the Young Farmers & Ranchers barbecue will be served at 7th and Wellington Sts.
School cheer groups and dance squads will compete in the open air pavilion starting at 1:30 p.m. in the dance crew contest.
Car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts will have a field day Saturday afternoon from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Car Nutz Cruize-In car show on Wellington St. just west of the fairgrounds, the motorcycle show on the fairgrounds midway and Smokin’ Chrome Truck Show in the CCS parking lot.
Saturday ends with the 7 p.m. Brett Eldredge performance. Opening for CMA New Artist of the Year will be Reggie Shaw and Kelsea Ballerini.
The brochure lists the Saturday show starting at 7:30 p.m. but it was moved up a half-hour due to the two lead-on acts.
Sunday events include just one activity, the 14th annual Antique Tractor Pull at 10 a.m. in the arena.
All exhibits will be released on Sunday.