Spend a little or spend a lot at the fair

The Elkhart County 4-H Fair has activities, food and fun for families on all budgets.

Families can save in advance of the fair and spend big. Or, easily spend just a little while enjoying the fair.

Justin Moore played the final concert of the 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair concert series to a packed crowd.

Justin Moore played the final concert of the 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair concert series to a packed crowd.

Not only are thousands of animals, including the Bengal Tiger Encounter, on display for free, but grandstand seats are also free for daily and nightly events at the grandstand stage, including high profile performers, the rodeo, tractor pull and demolition derby.

IMG_20140724_155830Kids activities, including petting baby animals at Young McDonalds Farm, Thank-a-Farmer Magic Shows and performances -like comedians, clowns and acrobats – at the Park Stage, are also free.

While it’s past already this year, Sunday is always a free entry day, with no charge for entering the fairgrounds. This year, the fair’s first ever Education Day allowed all local students, teachers and staff to enter the fair free. The first Friday of the fair was also a Senior Citizens’ Day where those 62 or older enter for free. On the Wednesday of the fair, kids can take advantage of discounted rides during Kids’ Day.

IMG_20140724_154418Food is an ever popular part of the fair. People can try a variety of exciting, innovative foods during the fair. For those on a tighter budget, check out the Dairy Bar, which benefits the Elkhart County 4-H dairy clubs. The Dairy Bar offers $1 cheese sandwiches and big servings of soft serve IMG_20140724_154335ice cream for just a few dollars. Get a combo meal (a cheese sandwich, a bottle of water and an ice cream cone) for only $2.50. Right next door to Dairy Bar II, the Dairy Feeder Steer Club’s stand offers a small haystack, enough to fill a person, for $4.50, a classic PBJ for $1 and sliced apples and caramel for $2. Four-H club and local service club booths generally have less expensive food for sale, but also use the profits to further their programs.

IMG_20140718_221702Some clubs also have special offers going on, like the Elkhart County Pork Producers concession stand. Each day, the first 10 people to find “Harry the Hampshire” and tell the exhibitor the word of the day will get a free pork burger sandwich at the Pork Producers booth on Food Row. Look for Harry at an outdoor commercial exhibit and the word of the day in Ag Hall at the Pork Producers display.

There are also water fountains located throughout the fairgrounds to refill water bottles.

Today’s free activities at the fair include Green Earth Education Day, which includes recycling games, an upcycled and thrifty fashion shows, and a scavenger hunt with prices. Of course, today also features two rodeos and a horse-pulling competition at the grandstand. Saturday has the motorcycle races and the demolition derby, followed by fireworks, at the grandstand. Check out the full schedule for more activities.

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