Piatt fair melds ag roots with changing times
CERRO GORDO — Piatt County Fair Board President Don Ritchie has been involved with the local fair "pretty much since I could walk," and is proud that the current-day offering keeps its agricultural roots while changing with the times.
There is still daily livestock judging at the six-day event, which starts today at the fairgrounds in Cerro Gordo, along with longtime favorites such as the Friday night tractor pull.
New this year is a fireworks display at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in cooperation with the village of Cerro Gordo.
"They wanted to have fireworks, so they bought them and we'll shoot them off at the fairgrounds," Ritchie said.
An "outlaw" tractor pull with souped-up machines is also scheduled to close the fair at 11 a.m. Sunday.
In between the sheep show at 8 a.m. today and the outlaw event on Sunday, there will be the annual Queen Pageant at 7 p.m. today, a 6:30 p.m. ITPA Tractor Pull Friday followed by a concert by Autumn Zero, and another pair of concerts Saturday along with the fireworks.
Judging will take place during daytime hours, and include sheep today; floriculture, culinary, and fire arts and textiles Wednesday; dairy Thursday; swine on Saturday and beef cattle Sunday.
Ritchie says its hard to imagine not being involved with the local fair.
"It's almost like a part of me. All of my kids help too. They've been there since they were picking up rocks on the track. It's just a family tradition."
Action inflatables will also be available for children at the fair.
Highlights of this week's Piatt County Fair:
8 a.m. Sheep Show
7 p.m. Queen Pageant
9:30 a.m. Non-livestock judging
9 a.m. Dairy Cattle Show
6 p.m. Full Throttle Friday
6:30 p.m. ITPA Tractor Pull
8:30 p.m. Autumn Zero
10:30 a.m. Swine Show
3 p.m. White Whiskey Coalition
8 p.m. River Bottom Nightmare
8:30 p.m. Fireworks
9 a.m. Beef Cattle Show
11 a.m. Bags Tournament
11 a.m. Piatt County Outlaw Tractor Pull
Steve Hoffman is editor of the Piatt County Journal-Republican, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit journal-republican.com.