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What's new at the Douglas County Fair?

The great Douglas County get-together starts Wednesday.

Douglas County Fair
A large crowd walks the midway at a past Douglas County Fair.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo
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ALEXANDRIA — The county fairgrounds will come alive next week when the Douglas County Fair opens on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Tens of thousands of visitors descend on the Douglas County Fairgrounds each year for the four-day fair, and this year they'll get a chance to see circus performers, a magician, and a boxing demonstration.

"Last year, we had 52,000 people who attended the Douglas County Fair," said Fair Board Member Molly Maudal. "I think of the Douglas County Fair as the climax of the summer. It's the last hurrah before school starts. Summer is starting to wind down and it's a great community get-together."

The 10-day weather forecast from weather.com predicts temperatures in the mid-70s during the fair, with a slight chance of rain each day.

On Senior Day — the first day of the fair this year — seniors can take stretching and balance mini-sessions, hear about public services available for them, and even take home a phone designed for those with vision or hearing limitations.

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On Kid's Day, Thursday, Aug. 18, kids will get a chance to win one of 26 bikes to be given away that day, 24 by Hubbard Radio at the Hubbard Radio Stage and two by the Douglas County Fair Board at the Heritage Stage. The fair board will also give a girl's bike and a boy's bike away each day of the fair.

Fair-goers will see a change in parking, as the only drivers allowed to park in the east parking lot are those with a handicapped tag or those with a Golden Ticket, Maudal said. All others must park at the west gate. The change is to improve traffic safety, she said.

All fair entertainment is free with the price of admission, including the Los Moralitos Circus performances on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the Lawn Mower Demo Derby on Saturday. The only paid entertainment is the Demo Derby on Friday, which is hosted by Viking Speedway, not the Douglas County Fair.

Again this year, all children ages 10 and under can enter the fair for free.

Maudal said the fair offers the public a chance to meet local businesses and see the projects that 4-H members and Open Class exhibitors have been working on since the last fair. It's also a great time to catch up with old friends.

"I know personally there are people I only see at the fair," she said. "So it's a really fun time to see what's new in their lives and what they've been up to the past year."

The fair ends Saturday, Aug. 20.

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
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