Several projects are underway as Champaign County Fair board members get the grounds spruced up in anticipation of next month's fair.
URBANA — Mike Kobel was enjoying the view of Urbana from his position 40 feet in the air Tuesday morning.
"I'm looking at the work on the Crystal Lake swimming pool. I can see the Carle employees arriving ... for work," he laughed.
Kobel, the Champaign County Fair manager, was painting the flagpole at the fairgrounds in northeast Urbana on Tuesday.
It's one of several projects underway as fair board members get the grounds spruced up in anticipation of next month's county fair, which starts Friday, July 19, and runs through July 27.
On Tuesday, other fair board members were busy installing a new horse corral by the horse barns, Kobel said.
"We're trying to get some special projects in. We installed brand new track lighting around the demolition derby area in front of the grandstand. It's the difference between night and day," Kobel said of improved lighting.
Other improvements include a new sound system throughout the fairgrounds and the grandstands, new portable public address systems for the livestock area, and an expanded wash rack area to accommodate more cattle.
Kobel said the biggest project to have been completed, and one that most fair attendees will appreciate, is the installation of air conditioning in the upper level of Kesler Hall.
"We've always had it in the lower level in the big hall, but we're installing it in the middle and upper levels," Kobel said.
Kobel said the fair has established a good working relationship with the 4-H Foundation at the University of Illinois and 4-H members have done cleanup and landscaping projects around Kesler Hall this spring.
"Once the air conditioning is installed, they will do a massive painting project inside that building. It's going to be a place they can call theirs and get 4-H back on the map," said Kobel.
On the last two days of the fair, the work of the fair exhibitors who submit items like baked goods, vegetables, crafts and flowers for judging will be taken out and replaced with 4-H projects, he said.
Tickets for the headliner entertainment are now on sale. Country singer Justin Moore will appear with special guest Chase Rice on Thursday, July 25. The grandstands open at 6 p.m. and show time is at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at ShowClix.com or by linking to that site from the fair's web site, champaigncountyfair.cc.
A complete list of the week's activities, which include demolition derby, talent contest, motorcycle races, tractor pull and carnival rides, are online there as well.