Sarah Olsen

The Union County Fair will be seeing a number of changes this year.

The changes were brought around in an effort to make the fair more fun and enticing. The most notable changes include how the fair will be kicked off: The fair begins this year with Senior Day and its annual breakfast on Wednesday, and the fair parade will take place at 6 p.m. Friday night.

“(We’re) making the fair a better place,” Fair Manager Margaret Spence said. “There’s something for everyone.”

According to Spence, attendance at the fair has declined the past couple years. The changes have been made in an attempt to boost interest.

She said the changes to the parade schedule were made to draw more people to the fair Friday night. Hopefully people will follow the parade to the fairgrounds.

“Friday is a more family-friendly night,” Spence said. “People don’t have work in the morning.”

Spence said the time of the Senior Breakfast was changed to mimic other fairs’ kick-off meals. Instead of featuring breakfast, Thursday will be Family Day with new family-friendly activities — one of which is “Mutt n Bustin.”

“Mutt n Bustin” is a rodeo sport for children. Children under a 50-pound weight limit attempt to ride a sheep for a six-second span.

“The Mavericks said they’d like to try doing mutton busting,” Spence said. “So we thought it’d be a great thing.”

Spence said the return of Mutt n Bustin to future fairs will be “contingent on the crowd size.”

Another Family Day attraction will be the fair’s log cabin where the Union County Historical Society will be stationed to help families learn about the history of Union County. The cabin will be open only on Thursday. There will also be a talent show.

In addition to the activities, the fair will be reanimated with new food and craft vendors.

“We have every booth full with the vendors,” Spence said.

There will also be a beer garden by Tap That Growlers, which is expected to bring in more people for the concerts on the fair nights, and a dog herding competition on Friday morning.

Spence anticipates that the additions will help lure attendees to this year’s, and future, Union County fairs and is optimistic about the results the changes will bring.

“I’m hoping people come and really enjoy it,” she said. “Whether it brings 500 to 1,000 extra people, anything is great.”

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