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Linn County Fair to kick off Wednesday

Organizers looking ahead after funnel cloud disrupted 2017 fair

(from left) Craig Knoblock of Central City and Reggie Bean of Center Point set up cages for dusks and geese as the help prepare for the Linn County Fair in Central City on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The fair opens on Wednesday, June 27. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
(from left) Craig Knoblock of Central City and Reggie Bean of Center Point set up cages for dusks and geese as the help prepare for the Linn County Fair in Central City on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The fair opens on Wednesday, June 27. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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CENTRAL CITY — Linn County Fair organizers have simple hopes for this year’s event after last year’s was disrupted by a funnel cloud that formed above the fairgrounds on opening day.

“After last year, I’m hoping for good weather,” said Springville resident Albert Martin, 35, president of the fair board.

The fair will host carnival rides, livestock shows and a lineup of grandstand events from June 27 to July 2.

Fair organizers are making light of last year’s bad weather, selling T-shirts for $15 with the phrase “Come for the funnel clouds; Stay for the funnel cakes” printed around an image of the funnel cloud darkening the sky over the fairgrounds.

Proceeds will go toward a public-address system to use in future emergency situations, fair marketing manager Heidi Steffen said.

The system is estimated to cost about $5,000, she said. A partial system will be in place for this year’s fair.

“Then as soon as we raise all the money, we’ll be able to get the rest of the system,” Steffen said.

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In the fair’s 130th year, Steffen said organizers are doing more to promote a fun pass, a $50 ticket that gives buyers entrance into every grandstand event.

Admission into the fair remains free.

The passes first were offered last year, Steffen said. But they were not highly promoted, and only four were sold.

“This year, we’ve done a better job of promoting them,” she said. “ ... We’ve already sold more of them, and there’s been more interest in them.”

Grandstand events include a new Mega Truck Freestyle Mania at 7 p.m. Thursday, professional bull riding with the band Lonestar in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, truck and tractor pulls at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday, and Freestyle Moto Madness & BMX Throwdown at 1 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s a good time,” Martin said. “Come early, stay all day.”

Central City resident Steve Enabnit, 60, who also serves on the fair board, said he looks forward to seeing the fair succeed every year.

His task Saturday while helping set up the fairgrounds was to prepare the Coors Light Pavilion.

“This is my baby,” he said. “It’s where the fun’s at.”

But Enabnit emphasized that the event offers entertainment for people of all ages, and the fair is “for the kids.”

Linn County youth coordinator Kate Yoder, 26, an Iowa City resident who works with the Linn County 4-H program, said in her three years on the job, she has enjoyed watching kids grow.

The 2018 theme for the 4-H clubs is “There’s no place like fair,” Yoder said — and it’s a sentiment she finds to be true, having grown up participating in 4-H herself.

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“It’s just neat to see it all come to life and to see all the kids’ hard work throughout the year, especially over the past couple months as well, just kind of come to life and come together. ... There’s something for everybody.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8332; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

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