135th Clare County Fair kicks off next weekend

July 13, 2018

By Pat Maurer
Review Correspondent

For the 135th year, the Clare County Fair will bring visitors from all over to the little town of Harrison for a week loaded with exhibits, fun and entertainment. The annual County Fair, certainly one of the very oldest fairs in the state, begins this year on July 23rd and runs through July 28th.

Cotton candy, hot dogs, elephant ears and French fries with vinegar make up some of the “tastes” of the county fair, while the sounds of youngsters on a thrilling ride or laughing their way through a fun house maze are a big part of traditional summer ‘fun at the fair’ in northern Michigan.

The 2018 fair book quotes Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder saying, “Our county fairs are a family tradition for many Michiganders. It’s an entertainment staple celebrating our agricultural heritage and showcasing the diversity and innovation of our growing food and Ag sector.”

Entertainment this year will be provided by Skerbeck Brothers Shows. Photo by Steve Landon

Entertainment this year will be provided by Skerbeck Brothers Shows.
Photo by Steve Landon

At the fair the county’s 4-H program will be highlighted with displays of the best the county has to offer, showcasing our citizen’s and youngsters’ hard work with ribbons marking the best of the best.

This year’s fair will offer a little of everything for the whole family, from harness racing, midway rides, agricultural exhibits and 4-H livestock shows, to grandstand shows and much, much more!

Visitors to the fair this year won’t want to miss the special Military Museum across from the main grandstand. Displays will include military items from each war and branch of service with a complete display of U.S. World War I memorabilia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI on November 11, 1918.

The Clare County Fair Board said they are pleased to announce that the Skerbeck Brothers Shows will be once again be providing the midway for the 2018 Clare County Fair, opening on Monday at 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at noon.

The Skerbeck website says the company began in 1857 when Frank Skerbeck Sr. traded his linen factory for a small circus in Aussig, Bohemia. Since then the family business has grown to include The Great Skerbeck Circus, Skerbeck’s Great One-Ring Railroad Show, Skerbeck’s Wild West, Skerbeck’s Amusement Co., Skerbeck Bros. Shows, and Skerbeck Carnival.

This year’s grandstand concert event features The Charlie Daniels Band with guest opener Jordon Davis.

This year’s grandstand concert event features The Charlie Daniels Band with guest opener Jordon Davis.

Bill Skerbeck along with his wife CJ and their children and spouses, proudly operate under the name of Skerbeck Family Carnival. The sixth generation, Bob, Dustin, and Carly, along with their spouses Jamee, Cindy, and Jeff respectively, travel full time with their premier carnival operation.

Special prices are available for tickets in advance online or at the fair office. Ride tickets will also be available at the fair. Ticket discounts are available with special armband prices.

Ride tickets are also discounted on Witbeck’s Day, Monday from 5 to 11 p.m., with a coupon from Witbeck’s Family Foods. On Wednesday, it’s Sunrise Stores Day from 1 to 11 p.m. with coupons available at Sunrise Stores in Harrison, Gladwin, Houghton Lake St. Helen and West Branch. On Friday, it will be Chemical Bank Day from 1 to 11 p.m. with coupons available at Chemical Bank in Clare, Coleman, Farwell, Gladwin, Harrison and Houghton Lake.

The fair especially means fun for youngsters and to celebrate that Tuesday and Thursday will be Kids Days with Bicycle Giveaways on Monday by Witbeck’s and on Thursday by Stevenson Wyman Funeral Home. Drawings are at 5 p.m. and you must be present to win!

In addition to a midway full of rides and games, many grandstand events are planned and in addition, something brand new to the fair this year will be the “Bears of Bearadise Ranch” with daily shows and the arrival of Gizmo the Robot who will be wandering the fairgrounds each day.

Headlining the grandstand shows this year will be “The Charlie Daniels Band,” performing on Friday July 27th at 7 p.m. with an opening by Jordan Davis, named “Artist to Watch” by Billboard, Rolling Stone and CMT.

Ticket information is available at www.StarTickets.com.

Daily Grandstand events will include the Thurston’s Gospel Sing at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 22nd; The Superkicker Full Rodeo with DeWayne Spaw on Monday at 7 p.m.; Motocross by SJO Productions at 7 p.m. on Tuesday; the USA Demolition Derby-Figure Eight at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday; 6 p.m. Harness Racing on Thursday (depending on funding); The Charlie Daniels Band with Jordon Davis at 7 p.m. on Friday; and the Concerned Racers Mud Bog at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Add to all that the traditional competitions for the best of the best, dog and cat shows, small animals, sheep, swine, youth beef showmanship, saddle horse competition, giant draft horses in classes and the traditional award given to “Homemaker of the Year.”

Monday judging will be held for Youth and open Rabbit & Cavy Classes & Showmanship at 9 a.m. Also at 9 a.m. is the judging for Youth Swine Market Classes. At 10 a.m. it will be judging of Draft Horse Halter Classes in Horse Arena; and at 1 p.m. judging of Youth Sheep Market Classes.

Tuesday at 9 a.m. Judging Youth & Open Poultry Classes & Showmanship; judging Youth Saddle Horses; and judging Youth Dairy Feeder Market Classes. At 10 a.m. judging Youth Beef Market Classes will be held; and at 1 p.m. judging will be held for Youth & Open Dairy Classes & Showmanship.

Wednesday judging will be held at 9 a.m. for Youth Swine Showmanship, Youth Saddle Horses and Youth & Open Dairy & Meat Goat Classes & Showmanship. At 1 p.m. Judging will be held for Youth Sheep Showmanship and Youth Sheep Lead Class.

Thursday judging at 9 a.m. will be for Youth Saddle Horses and Beef & Dairy Feeder Showmanship. At 1 p.m. judging will be held for Open Class Swine, Sheep, Beef & Dairy Feeders. At 3 p.m. it will be Draft Horse Hitch Classes for all breeds (following Harness Racing). At 4 p.m. the Cat Show will be held and at 6 p.m. the Dog Show is scheduled.

Friday at 9 a.m. the Overall Small Animal Showmanship Contest will be held and at 10 a.m. the Overall Large Animal Showmanship Contest is scheduled. At 1 p.m. the presentation of Horse Trophies & Prizes will be held in the Horse Arena, and at 2 p.m. the 4-H Cloverbud Show is scheduled. The Small Animal Awards will be held in the T-Barn at 4 p.m.

Saturday at 10 a.m. the Large Animal Auction will be held in the Livestock Arena followed by the Small Animal Auction.

The release of Livestock Exhibits is scheduled for 10 p.m. on Saturday.

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