Every year, adults can feel like a kid again at the Winnebago County Fair, and children can create core memories to cherish for a lifetime. This year’s fair takes place Aug. 16-20 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, 500 W. First St., Pecatonica.
“There are several fun activities for the whole family at the Winnebago County Fair,” says Kyah Bean, fair board secretary. “We have various free entertainment around the grounds including a lumberjack show, a county fair queen pageant, pedal pulls, live music, etc. We also have events nightly in our grandstand that include a rodeo, truck races, tractor pulls, truck pulls and a demo derby.”
And of course, there’s the beloved carnival happening daily.
The entertainment tent features The Brockway Brothers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, The Matthew Holm Band at 7 p.m. on Thursday, The 80’s Hit List at 8 p.m. on Friday, a tribute to Elvis from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, and Infinity at 9 p.m. on Saturday. These performances are free.
Grandstand entertainment includes the Winnebago County Fair Pro Rodeo at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, truck races at 7 p.m. on Thursday, the Badger State Hot Rod Tractor Pulls at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, the Illini State Pullers Truck & Tractor Pull at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the demo derby at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Grandstand entertainment has a separate fee from general admission, ranging from $5-$10, while children ages 8 and under can enter free.
Many hours of volunteer work go into making the fair possible.
“This is so much more than just a ‘one person’ event,” Bean says. “There are several directors on the fair board who put in countless hours of work. There are also others who can’t go unrecognized – the office staff, 4-H clubs, fan clubs, and volunteers who donate their time and money who are so appreciated. Without the contribution of every single one of the volunteers, this event would not be possible.”
Bean grew up going to the fair every year. For her to now serve as secretary for the fair board is a full-circle, gratifying experience.
“There’s just something that feels so ‘All-American’ about a county fair,” she says. “I grew up going to every single one, including my very first one at just 2-months old. I was able to watch my dad – who has been on the fair board my whole life – work throughout the year, and here I am, following in his footsteps on the fair board myself. Being able to host an event that brings people of all ages together to support fun and agriculture is something that will always be near and dear to my heart.”
On Wednesday, general admission from noon-midnight costs $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 9-12, while military and seniors ages 60 and older can enter free as part of “Military and Senior Day.” Fairgoers can bring two non-perishable food items to benefit the Rockford Rescue Mission and receive one free admission.
On Thursday, general admission from noon- midnight is $5 for adults and $3 for military and seniors ages 60 and older. Children ages 12 and under can enter free as part of “Kid’s Day.”
On Friday and Saturday, general admission from 10 a.m.-midnight costs $7 for adults and $5 for military, seniors, and children ages 9-12. Children ages 8 and under can enter free.
On Sunday, general admission from 10 am.-6 p.m. costs $5 for adults and $3 for military, seniors and children ages 9-12. Children ages 8 and under can enter free.
Those interested in the carnival may want to purchase a Mega Pass for $25, which includes admission and unlimited rides from open to close on the day of your choice. Mega Passes are available across Winnebago County at most Kelley Williamson Mobils, German American State Bank, Mike’s One Stop, Every Little Thing, or online at winnebagocountyfair.com. Mega Passes are available for purchase until Aug. 16 at noon. General admission and grandstand event tickets are also available online.
“This event is a time for people to get together to share memories,” Bean says. “Kids from different school districts get to show their animals together. Families and friends join together to ride the carnival rides, enjoy some of the shows and eat some delicious food. We look forward to seeing you at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds.”