Mercer County Fair Draws Crowds Year After Year - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Mercer County Fair Draws Crowds Year After Year

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Summer time in the QCA means fair season is underway, and this week, the Mercer County Fair in Aledo is celebrating its 161st year.

It is always a big crowd pleaser.

Every year, the Mercer County Fair brings in about 10,000 people over the course of a week. That's huge when you consider the population of Aledo is only about 3,600.

And, fair officials say this year's fair, which opened on Sunday, is an even bigger hit than usual.

"Oh, we have had a great fair!" said Linda Beguelin, Mercer County Fair Board Secretary. "It has been a great week weather-wise, our entries are up, the kids are showing up and exhibiting, and everybody is having a great time."

And, new attractions have helped boost attendance, too.

"We did a new event called Night of Destruction. Our grandstand was almost filled," Beguelin explained.

"We have never had so many on a Wednesday night," she said.

Of course, the old fair favorites are always a big draw as well:

"I like the corn dogs!" said one 12-year-old fair visitor, Clayton Nelson.

"The rides and seeing the animals," answered 10-year-old Makenzie Retherford, when asked about her favorite part of the fair.

A lot of the people we talked to say the spotlight on agriculture is what keeps them coming back year after year:

"I just like showing animals," said one young exhibitor, Kameron Bohnsick.

"I kind of like the feeling of being in the ring and I really like being out there with the livestock," agreed exhibitor Katie Curry, who was proud to show off her four reserves and one showmanship champion ribbon after showing her cattle at the fair.

"This is fun showing them and doing everything with them," said another exhibitor, 11-year-old Caden Miller, who is showing pigs at this year's fair.

"We like to compete every year," agreed Ashley Root and Derek Reed.

The Mercer County Fair is a lifelong tradition for long-time volunteer Betty Williams.

The 91-year-old has been coming to the fair since she was a baby and volunteering here for longer than she can remember:

"I started quite young, I am sure," she laughed.

She says a lot has changed over the years, especially the rides. What hasn't changed, though, is her love for the fair, and what it means for the area.

"I think it holds them together real good, the community," Williams said.

"In a small rural town like this there are not a lot of events. And some of these kids, this is the big event for them for the year, for their families," Beguelin said.

And, there is still plenty of fair fun to be had this year. Click here to see the schedule of events.

Saturday night, the demolition derby will start at 6:30 p.m. and the grandstand is expected to be packed.

The fair will then close for the night and the season around 11 p.m.

Admission for the Mercer County Fair is $6 for adults an $2 for kids. The entrance fee also covers admission to grandstand events.

Fair officials say they're already starting to plan for next year's fair.

 

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