County fair adds historic touch

• Fair opens July 17 with new history room; parade has been moved to Saturday

by Jim Boyle


Irene Kostreba, of Elk River, remembers seeing Sherwin Linton perform decades ago at the Sherburne County Fair.

She has a poster featuring the singer known for, among other things, his covers of Johnny Cash tunes. It will likely hang in a  history room being assembled just in time for Thursday’s opening of the Sherburne County Fair.

That will be a new hook at the annual event. So too will a “selfie” photo contest aimed at younger generations to populate the Internet with photos from the fair on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This year will even feature pro wrestling in the grandstand.

“We’ve got a lot going on,” said Tina Iten, one of the fair organizers.

The parade, a staple of the fair, has been moved from Friday night to 10 a.m. on Saturday this year, a nod to busy families hustling home from work on Fridays. The hope is more  people will be able to attend it — spectators and parade entrants alike — when they don’t have to battle rush-hour traffic, Iten said.

This year’s grand marshals are Marion Salzmann and Denny Dill. They will be leading the way on John Deere tractors.

There are about 70 parade entrants, and new entrants will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. July 18. The 728 Cadets Marching Band will be in the parade, and police departments countywide have been invited.

County fair organizers like Kostreba and Iten will also pull from pages in the fair’s 126-year history with a truck and tractor pull, a demolition derby and talent contests, and the medallion hunt is coming back.

There will also be greasy — and not so greasy — fair food, plus animals and a variety of shows.

Linton will be back, too.

He, his wife, Pam Linton, who wasn’t with him the first time Kostreba saw him play, and The Cotton Kings will do three shows on Sunday, July 20, the last day of the fair.

An 11 a.m. performance will feature an old-time gospel music show and sing-a-long. A 1:30 performance will feature classic country and rockabilly show. Linton will top it off at 3 p.m. with a tribute to Johnny Cash.

History room created

The history room came to be after the Sherburne County Fair Board’s Kostreba applied for and got a grant to create it. It has been in the works for months and started to take shape this past week as photos went up on the walls and few things were added to empty showcases.

Kostreba hopes to fill them with donated and borrowed items from past fairgoers. She will be accepting items right up to the start of the fair. She also plans to dig from the fair’s archives to line the walls with newspaper clippings and other memorabilia.

“We know there are some really interesting things out there from the fair that could go in here,” Kostreba said. “We just ask people to bring them in to donate them or borrow for the fair.”

Selfie contest aimed at younger generation

As Sherburne County’s landscape has become increasingly suburban, attracting youth has gotten more difficult. One attempt this year will be the fair’s first selfie photo contest.

Organizers of the modern day scavenger hunt will not be bashful about trying to stir up interest. They have secured a 43-inch flat screen television and a Xbox One as prizes for the winners. There will be other prizes, too.

Winners will be determined by the number of pictures posted over the course of the four-day event.

Participants must register at the fair office, and those under the age of 18 must present a parent’s signature of approval and cellphone number.

Pictures can be posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but each picture will also need to include a hashtag, or keyword, such as #SherbCtyFair.

There will be a total of 15 objects each day that need to be included in the selfies. Some of the objects (about 25 percent) will need to be purchased at the fair.

Prizes for most unique selfie will be considered.

Winners must be at the event at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 20, in front of the fair office.

There are additional rules shown on the registration forms.

Wrestlers take stage on Friday in grandstand

This year’s fair will feature pro wrestling for the first time.

Grandstand Slam will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 18, with the proceeds going to the benefit of the Sherburne County 4-H and the Sherburne County Fair.

The AWF-sanctioned event is slated to feature Johnny Parks, Tony Denucci, Ariya Daivari and many more.

Denucci is a former AWA and WWF star.

Tickets will be $12 ringside, $8 for adults and $5 for those 13 and under.

The show is billed as an all-ages show with five action-packed matches. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the first bell at 7:30 p.m.

Truck and tractor pull to pull in spectators

There will be a National Tractor Pullers Association tractor pull at 7 p.m. July 17 in the grandstand.

The event will feature heavy super stock tractors, pro farm tractors, pro stock diesel FWD, super farm tractors, super stock FWD trucks and pro stock semis.

Admission will be $12 for adults and $8 for children.

There will also be a truck and tractor pull on Saturday night in the grandstand.

Smash and Crash raffle returns to Demo Derby

There will be another Smash and Crash Demo Derby raffle for Sunday night’s demolition derby.

Anyone who has ever had a desire to drive in a demo derby but didn’t have the time to put together a car, here’s your chance. Those interested need only to buy one or more raffle tickets at $10 per ticket.  The drawing will be done on Sunday night at the fair office or near the demo cars on display. The cars are ready to go and will be provided by the Sherburne County Fair.

Those who are drawn have a chance to win one of three cash prizes of $500, $100 and $50.

Must be at least 18 years of age to enter and present to win. Raffle winners must also have a helmet.

Tickets can be purchased at the fair office and near the demo car display.

More bikes than ever to be given away

There will 48 bikes given away on the Sherburne County Fairgrounds. There will be a drawing at 6 p.m. nightly for the bikes.

Raffle tickets are available at the entrance, and those hoping to cash in on a bike must be present to win.

Senior Day returns to Sunday at the fair

In addition to the music of Sherwin Linton, seniors will be treated to ice cream sundaes and root beer floats on senior day Sunday, July 20, at the Sherburne County Fair. There will also be a wellness van giving blood pressure checks.