Clay County Fair Manager Phil Hurst announced Thursday that the "World's Greatest County Fair" - celebrating 90 years - will add an assortment of new contests and events to its schedule this year. The fair runs from Saturday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 16.
"We have more food vendors than the Mall of America. We have more parking than the Mall of America. We have more rides than the Mall of America. We have more stores than the Mall of America - over 650 commercial exhibitors," Hurst said.
He noted that this year will begin with "agriculture" day on Saturday. "Right from the start, we focus on agriculture," Hurst suggested. "We are the largest agribusiness fair in the nation... But we're so much more than just agriculture."
Hurst outlined a list of new attractions that will be offered free throughout the fairgrounds.
The Amazing Rainforest Experience will offer a seamless blend of trained exotic animals and audience interaction. This unique animal show shares the stage with conservation and environmental awareness.
The Big Cat Encounter will feature an up-close and personal visit with endangered and exotic lions and tigers.
Don Otto "The Diving Fool" - a U.S. National High Diving Team member - will perform his high-flying trampoline, comedy act.
Dave The Horn Guy, playing classic to hip-hop music on his 25 horns, will be traveling the fairgrounds; as will the Doggies of the Wild West - a collection of pooches from the prairie featuring Barks Brooks, Miss Prissy, Pistol Peanuts, Peppy and Paco under the direction of Marshal Rowdy Yo and Calamity Jo.
Back again is the popular Kachunga & The Alligator Show, pitting American Bushman, Kachunga against the 300-pound, nine-foot alligator in front of a live audience.
"You could travel all over the world to see these animals and exhibits, or you can do it all here in nine days," Hurst said.
The Iowa State University Extension is also adding a rally event to the popular dog show, featuring an obstacle course.
In the realm of competitive exhibits, a 90-year-old recipe contest is being introduced this year as a way to recognize the 90th birthday of the Clay County fair. Participants competing in the recipe contest will bake their product and show it to judges along with its original, 90-year old recipe. The popular cinnamon roll judging contest returns as well, with a $1,000 prize.
* For a complete listing of scheduled events, call 262-4740 or visit the Clay County Fair's website, www.claycountyfair.