136th Annual Clare County Fair kicks off

July 19, 2019

Skerbeck’s carnival full of fun will be featured again at the Clare County Fair.

By Pat Maurer
Review Correspondent

For more than 135 years the Clare County Fair, one of the oldest fairs in Michigan, has been held in mid-summer at the fairgrounds in Harrison.
This year’s fair, the 136th, is scheduled from July 21st through July 27th this year and features a midway full of rides and games by the Skerbeck Family Carnival.

The Skerbeck Family has a long history in the amusement industry business starting in the 1850s with a family owned traveling circus. Over 160 years later the Skerbeck Family provides exceptional carnival midways to the most discerning fairs and festivals and has been a feature at the Clare County Fair for several years. The midway will be open Monday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday and on Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. Daily armbands are available both in advance online and at the fair office and will also be available at the fair.

As always, youngsters will have a chance to win a brand new bicycle at the fair this year. On Tuesday, “Kids Day,” Witbecks Family Foods will give away two bikes. Sign up is from 2 to 5 p.m. and the drawing will follow (must be present at the drawing to win). In fact there are two chances to win. On Thursday, also “Kids Day,” there will be another drawing, with the bicycle drawing sponsored by Stevenson Wyman Funeral Home. The sign-up time is 2 to 5 p.m. and youngsters must be present for a chance to win.

Every weekday at the fair is something special. Monday is Witbeck’s Day; Tuesday and Thursday are Kids Day; Wednesday is Sunrise Stores Day; and Friday is Chemical Bank Day.

While browsing the midway, fairgoers won’t want to miss the free daily shows on the midway including Brunon’s Bengal Tigers and Nerveless Nocks Globe of Death, and the delightful family fun of Gizmo the Robot, who will be wandering around the midway every day to have fun with everyone.

Fair board president Lamar Gunden said, “We like to make it exciting and fun for the whole family. After all, family is the most important thing in life.”

“County fairs are a family tradition for many. They provide great opportunities to showcase our agricultural heritage and celebrate all the bounty that is Pure Michigan at its finest!” the fair website says.

Gunden said, “Many groups, clubs, organizations, businesses, governmental agencies and individuals contribute to the annual Clare County Fair, making it truly a community effort.”

4-H is a huge part of the Clare County Fair.
The fair website says, “4-H is the largest youth development organization in Michigan, with nearly 200,000 youth between the ages of five and 19 participating. Because Michigan 4-H is part of MSU (Michigan State University) Extension, the activities your kids participate in are all backed by and based on child development research. We use experiential (hands on) learning and time spent intentionally thinking about what’s been learned to make it a meaningful experience, with skills and ideas learned that last a lifetime. It’s a fact; kids who participate in 4-H get better grades, are more likely to give back to their communities.”

What that all means is the Clare County Fair is the culmination of a year of work and learning for the county’s youngsters, and a chance to show off their many accomplishments.

A huge part of the fair is the traditional competitions for the best of the best, with dog obedience and small animals, sheep and swine, youth beef showmanship, saddle horse competition, giant draft horses in classes more.
There will be displays of the best in arts, crafts and produce and loads of home art to see.

There’s even a Dog Show on Sunday, July 21st at 5 p.m. to highlight the beginning of the fair, and a Cat Show on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Showmanship. Classes and judging will be held Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with Overall Small Animal and Large Animal Showmanship on Friday beginning at 9 a.m.

The Youth Livestock Auction (both for large animals and small) will be held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

See the section in this issue, see the Review website (clarecountyreview.com) or visit the Clare County Fair website (clarecountyfair.org) to find the full schedule of events complete with days and times for every event.

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