Affordable Fun at Winnebago County Fair

After two years of making adjustments due to COVID-19, The Winnebago County Fair is back to its full glory and then some Aug. 17-21 at the Winnebago County Fair Grounds, 500 W. First St., Pecatonica, Ill.

“We have all of the 4-H events back this year,” says Michelle McCabe, office manager for the fairgrounds. “That is huge after not being able to have full participation over the past two years.
“For many families, the Winnebago County Fair represents the end of summer,” McCabe continues. “It’s the last outing before school begins. The last opportunity to see the animals and projects that the 4-H kids have put so much work into for the past several months.”

In addition to 4-H activities, popular fair events include a carnival, music and other live forms of entertainment. New to the fair this year is FlippenOut Productions, a high-energy trampoline show that performs all over the world, says McCabe. Three shows are scheduled daily Wednesday through Saturday.

“We also have the World of Wonders, which brings the nostalgia of American fairs with sword swallowers, fire eaters and contortionists just to name a few,” McCabe adds.

Other can’t-miss events include the Xtreme Roughstock Rodeo at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, tractor pulls at 1 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and bands such as Shotgun Jane at 9 p.m. on Friday and Infinity at 9 p.m. on Saturday. There’s also vendors and entertainment in Moss Hall, which include singer/songwriter Lola Blu at 6:30 p.m. Friday and the Winnebago County Fair Queen Pageants at 6 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday.

A board of 27 directors have volunteered their time to make the Winnebago County Fair a reality, along with a handful of other staff, McCabe says.

“We also have superintendents who put a lot of time and effort into running their livestock and non-livestock departments along with the 4-H, which is a huge part of the fair,” she adds. “Without all of them, and the wonderful people who come out to spend a day or more at the Winnebago County Fair, this event would not be possible.”

Fair hours are noon to midnight Wed.-Sat and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets to the fair vary in price from day to day.

On Wednesday, Aug. 17, admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 9-12, while seniors ages 60 and above and children ages 8 and under may enter free. Bring two non-perishable food items to benefit the Rockford Rescue Mission for one free admission.

On Thursday, Aug. 18, admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, while children ages 12 and under may enter free.

On Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20, admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and children ages 9-12, while children ages 8 and under may enter free.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children ages 9-12, while children ages 8 and under may enter free.

Mega pass tickets are available for purchase in advance of the fair at Kelley’s Market Mobile stores and will not be sold at the gate. Mega passes include all-day and all-night rides for $25. They are good for one day only, any day of your choice, and include gate admission.

Most of the events at the fair are free, with a few special events costing between $5-10 extra. Carnival tickets are “pay one price” each day.

“It’s a fun and affordable opportunity to get family and friends together to enjoy good, quality entertainment, and for parents and grandparents to maybe relive a little bit of their youth,” McCabe says.

To view a complete schedule of events, visit ❚