Cole County Fair offers week full of fun

From left, Moises Mendez, Mauricio Pirir, Roberto Gomez and Jose Marquez secure a rail for a rollercoaster on Thursday, July 27, 2023 at Jaycee Fairgrounds, in Jefferson City. The heat index on Thursday peaked around 105 degrees. (Kate Cassady/News Tribune)

It’s that time of year again for rides, treats, shows and more at the Cole County Fair.

The 73rd annual events runs from 5-11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Gate admission is $5 Monday, $10 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15 Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday.

Monday night will feature $1 rides, and unlimited ride arm bands will cost $20 Tuesday through Thursday and $25 Friday and Saturday.

Monday’s festivities begin with an opening ceremony at 5:45 p.m. at the Wyman S. Basinger Flagpole, with the Kids Tractor Pull and Hwy 65 Motocross both following at 7 p.m. at the Jaycee Exhibit Hall and the Rusty Drewing/Kendall’s Towing Stage, respectively.

On Tuesday, the Mid-America Tractor Pullers Association (MATPA) tractor pull will be at 7 p.m. at the Rusty Drewing/Kendall’s Towing Arena, with the Mid Missouri Truck and Tractor Pulling Association to follow the next day at 7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, the cornhole tournament and rodeo both begin at 7 p.m., at the Jaycee Exhibit Hall and the Rusty Drewing/Kendall’s Towing Arena, respectively, and continue at the same times Friday. Saturday ends the festivities with a figure-8 scramble at 7 p.m. at the Xtreme Body & Paint/Kendall’s Towing Stage.

There’s plenty of music lined up for the week, too. Murphy’s Ford will perform the week’s first concert at 9 p.m. Monday at the Xtreme Body and Paint/Kendall’s Towing Stage, with Creed Fischer taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Shane Profit takes the stage at the same time Wednesday evening, with Ashley Cooke, Quiet Riot and Michael Ray beginning their shows at 9:30 p.m. the next three nights.

On the Beer Garden Stage, the Osage Angels will play July 31 and Aug. 3, Jacob Smalley & the Morgan County Line will perform Aug. 1, Off-Road Cadillac will perform Aug. 2 and 5, and Old Soul Savage will play Aug. 4.

While the fair proper begins Monday, 4-H events will begin Saturday on the fairgrounds with 4-H and FFA building exhibits starting at 9 a.m., followed by a dog show beginning at 4 p.m.

Sunday is when the summer tradition heats up with a slew of agriculture events covering sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry from 4-6 p.m.

While those events have typically been spread out through the first part of the week, this year’s are set for the same day so participants don’t have to bring in their livestock and trailers across multiple days, according to Eleanor Bax with the Cole County Extension and 4-H.

Calves and breeding beef and swine will be shown from 3-6 p.m. Monday. Tuesday’s market swine show begins at 1 p.m., with the market beef show following at 5 p.m. Wednesday’s 4-H activities include livestock judging clinic in the morning and a full day of livestock events, including ceremonies and a market livestock auction.

More than 200 animals will compete at the fair, including 130 beef, 91 swine, 37 poultry, 35 wool sheep, 25 rabbits, 19 goats and 14 hair sheep.

The final 4-H event is the ham and bacon breakfast and auction at 7:30 a.m. Friday.

All concerts and arena events are included with a paid admission.

 Gallery: Cole Country Fair