CENTRAL CITY — Kevin Bacon made an appearance Friday at the Linn County Fair.
Not the actor. The pig.
Still, this little piggy cut footloose and won the Swifty Swine Pig Race, beating out his competitors — Sowie Mandel, Brad Pig and Justin Bieboar.
Kevin Bacon was awarded with an Oreo cookie. The three losers cried all the way home.
Pig races are just one of the many free activities highlighting this year’s Linn County Fair, which kicked off Wednesday and continues through Monday at the fairgrounds, 201 Central City Road, located about 35 minutes northeast of Cedar Rapids.
“You’re not going to find as much free, fun, family entertainment like you’re going to find here,” said Heidi Steffen, marketing manager for the fair. “Your only cost is the gas to get up here.”
Admission to the fairgrounds, as well as parking, is free, Steffen said, as our many of the daily attractions, including a new acrobat show, face painting, livestock exhibits, agriculture education tent and free entertainment tent.
“The only things you have to pay for are grandstand events, the carnival and food, although you can also bring your own lunch,” said Steffen.
She said Wednesday’s rainfall didn’t disrupt opening-day festivities and Thursday’s attendance was robust — possibly record setting.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback,” she said, adding one of the things fairgoers seem to like is that the animals are remaining at the fair for its entire run. In the past, animals have appeared for their respective shows and then left the fairgrounds.
“This year it doesn’t matter if it’s the first day of Sunday, all of the 4-H livestock are remaining through the weekend,” said Steffen. “You’ll be able to walk through the barns and see the animals.”
Still on tap Friday is a 7:30 p.m. concert by country band Confederate Railroad. Tickets are $25.
On Saturday, highlights include a 4-H Youth Council Pancake Breakfast from 6:30-10 a.m., Beef Show at 9 a.m., a pie-eating contest at 3 p.m. and a Truck N’ Tractor Pull at 7 p.m. in the grandstand. Tickets to that event are $15 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12 and free for kids 5 and younger.
Sunday’s events include a 4-H Youth Programs Pancake Breakfast from 7-10:30 a.m., Swine Show at 9 a.m., Dairy Cattle Show at 10 a.m., Mini Monster Mania event at 1 p.m. in the grandstand (tickets $8 and $5), and Chuckwagon Races at 6 p.m. in the grandstand (tickets $12 and $8).
The fair wraps up Monday with a Dog Obedience and Agility Show at 9 a.m. and Livestock Auction at 1 p.m.
The carnival opens at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ride tickets are $1 each with most rides costing three to five tickets.
The weather forecast calls for high temperatures around 90 degrees on Saturday and Sunday with a chance of scattered storms late Saturday afternoon.
For those on the fence, Michaela Rowell, 13, of Marion, who is showing 13 rabbits at this year’s fair, offered up her reason why the event is worth the trip.
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“The fair is a great place to learn about country and where food comes from,” she said, noting many of the kids she’s met this year have never touched a rabbit.
“I let people hold them, play with them, touch them,” she said. “If they do come in contact with animals now, they won’t be afraid.”
For more information about this year’s fair, including a full schedule of events, visit thelinncountyfair.com.