The Champaign County Fair starts tonight, and it should be a good time.
Congratulations to the Champaign County Fair as it reaches a milestone — the 160th fair starts tonight and runs through July 28.
The fair has its roots in a much different — some would say simpler — time. When the first organized fair was held in 1852, it was the big event of the year for rural people from all over the sparsely populated county who came to the fair to show their agricultural products to their neighbors.
Now the county population is largely urban, and we have no lack of events to keep us busy. But the Champaign County Fair has changed along with the times, and it promises to be a lot of fun.
The fair is under new management, which has spruced up the fairgrounds, brought in new rides and added lighting so "the fair's a safe place to go," according to board member John Bell.
In another change, the fair is returning to the tradition of having a country artist with a No. 1 hit — Lee Brice of "A Woman Like You" fame in a show that will open the fair tonight.
And of course there will still be the agricultural and craft exhibitions that hearken back to the earliest days of the fair. This year there will be approximately 1,500 entry classes and over $100,000 offered in prizes.
It's likely to be even hotter than usual with the current heat wave and drought, but hey, it's July in East Central Illinois. So get out and have some fun.