Dakota County Fair Grandstand will be filled with fun

Click here to go to the Dakota County Fair 2013 webpage compiled by Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune.

Major events return with crashing cars, racing donkeys, music and much more

When people step inside one of the gates that leads to the Dakota County Fair, every one of the senses comes alive.

Dakota County Dairy Princesses Beth Donnelly, Maggie Stiles, and Janna Sorg taste test and judge some homemade dairy cooking entries at the Dakota County Fair foods building on Aug. 7, 2012. (Photo by Rick Orndorf)
Dakota County Dairy Princesses Beth Donnelly, Maggie Stiles, and Janna Sorg taste test and judge some homemade dairy cooking entries at the Dakota County Fair foods building on Aug. 7, 2012. (Photo by Rick Orndorf)

One is struck by the midway lights and its centerpiece Ferris wheel, cows mooing or sheep baaing in the animal buildings, the smell of tempting food truck delights wafting through the air. It’s all waiting for people to experience it all.

Since the fair means so many things to different people its hard to say what this year’s highlights are, but what follows is a roundup of activities and events.

The tour starts with Grandstand events that typically draw the largest crowds to the fair.

This year’s lineup ranges from the thunderous to the tame.

To show how popular this event has become, the Demolition Derby runs three days at the Grandstand – starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.

Tickets, which are $12 for adults and $6 for those ages 6-12 each night, can be purchased at the gate or online at www.dakotacountyfair.org. Ticket packages also are available online.

The derby features a wide range of modified vehicles driven by brave and zany crash-’em-up drivers of different ages and walks of life.

Friday night’s lineup includes three heats – 15-entrant Truck Stock Division, 15-entrant Van/Truck Division and 18-entrant Compact Car Division –  in which the winners in each earn $600. There will be three, 14-car heats in the Full Size Division, in which the winners from each heat will advance to the championship to compete for the top prize of $1,800.

Saturday night will feature the Full Size Division again with a 15-car heat with a winning prize of $700. Other heats that night include a 15-entrant Chain-Up Car Division and a 15-entrant Midsize Car Division for top $600 prizes.

Sunday’s slate includes three, 15-entrant Weld-Up Truck heats with the winners advancing to the championship in an effort to win a $1,500 prize. The day also includes a 15-car Powder Puff Division heat and a 15-entrant Stock Truck Division heat with top prizes of $600 each.

From the powerful to the funny, Dairyland Donkeyball will take over the Grandstand at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, to stage its “Celebrity” Donkey Races.

The free event will consist of elimination heats followed by a championship heat.  The races are expected to generate laughter and fun as area residents serve as “Donkey Jockeys” in a safe and humane environment.

More about the organization is at www.dairylanddonkeyball.com.

It’s time to fire up the horsepower for the Tractor Pull, which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6. Tickets run $12 for adults and $6 for children.

Rice Riding Company’s Bulls and Barrels will round up the crowds starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. Tickets run $12 for adults and $6 for children.

A change of pace will be ushered in with a country rock concert by national recording artists Love & Theft and Craig Campbell at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8. Tickets are $30 on the infield and $25 in the grandstand.

Love and Theft combines elements of country, rock and pop, which is all found on its second studio record “If You Ever Get Lonely.” The album was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., in the RCA studios.

Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson are the lead singing and guitar-playing duo of the band that has been nominated for an American Country Music Award.

More is at www.loveandtheft.com.

Singer/songwriter Campbell, who grew up in rural Lyons, Ga., has a much more straightforward, traditional country flair to his music.

His new five-song EP, “Outta My Head,” recalls country artists of the past both in its instrumentation and its musical themes about life.

More about Campbell is at http://craigcampbell.tv.
More music

Three musical acts on the Beer Garden Stage aim to keep the good times rolling with their lively shows.

The Johnny Holm Band will perform at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.

Holm and his bandmates have been rockin’ the Upper Midwest with shows that include plenty of covers of good-time party tunes from the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Van Morrison, the Beatles and many more.

The Last Ride will provide the country rock musical backdrop 8:45-12:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. More is at www.thelastrideband.com.

The six-member Minnesota country band Lost Highway takes the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.

Lost Highway was founded in 2009 and has opened for Hank Williams Jr., Clay Walker, and Josh Thompson. More about Lost Highway is at www.losthighwaymn.com.
Special days

The fair is filled with special days that include discounts and events geared toward a theme.

Kids Day is Tuesday, Aug. 6, when a child’s gate admission for ages 6-12 is $1 when accompanied by an adult. As always, admission for children 5 and under is free.

Military Day is Wednesday, Aug. 7, when active military members and veterans will be admitted free as a thank you for serving the country.

Senior Day is Thursday, Aug. 8, when there will be free admission and free parking for seniors age 60-plus.

Fire Prevention Day is  Saturday, Aug. 10, when two special activities are slated.

People can see the power of a live kitchen fire and learn how to avoid this problem at home during presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In other demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., people can see how flames activate a fire sprinkler system, and how the sprinklers control a fire until a fire department arrives.

Fair hours, building hours, one-time events and much more are listed in this our Schedule of Events. This schedule pulls together much of the information available about the fair and assembles it in one source. People are encouraged to use it to help plan their visit and bring it to the fair to know how best to schedule their day.