The smell of funnel cake, the sounds of children laughing and the colorful lights of the amusement rides will fill your vision July 1 through 4 when the Cannon Valley Fair sets up shop for their 106th year.
The Cannon Valley Fair has been cautiously scheduled this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the plans are still being nailed down. Currently, the Livestock and 4H part of the fair is still being planned due to the changing nature of the pandemic. The website has been updated to reflect the current schedule, including performances and activities.
“I kind of just hope that people look forward to getting together and seeing a bunch of people they haven't seen in awhile,” said Non-Grandstand Chair for the Cannon Valley Fair Stacy Kurtz. “We didn't have the fair last year, y’know, being able to get back into seeing derbies and tractors pulls and just kind of back to normalcy.”
The fair has booked seven different entertainers. Each day, except for the Fourth of July, has one daytime entertainer and one nighttime performer. They have booked a balloon artist, comedian and a theatre duo that brings children into The Wizard of OZ.
The night time performances are all local musical artists. On the first night Bryan Anderson will take the stage, then The Sheet Rockers, The Coxmen and The Chubs the following nights. The last night, the Fourth of July, will also end with a fireworks show put on by the fair, on top of the concert.
They do not yet know what types of amusement rides they will have, just that there will be about 13 different ones. Admission to the fairgrounds is $4. For an unlimited ride wristband, it will be $22 at the fair or $17 if they purchase one in June from Cannon Belles Coffee and Ice Cream Shoppe or Cannon Specialties. There will be two ride sessions per day. The first will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the second from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Another new activity Kurtz has booked is a traveling escape room.
“It's about an 18 foot trailer and they’ve only been here when the brewery opened,” Kurtz said. “It’s kind of something new. Instead of traveling to Minneapolis to go to those escape rooms it’ll come here. That’s going to be on July 2 and 3 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They have to order their tickets online in advance. It’s something for the teenagers.”
You cannot have a good fair without good food. The Cannon Valley Fair has currently 18 vendors ready to feed fairgoers. From classic fair food, like corndogs and cheese curds, to quesadillas, gyros and ice cream paninis, the fair is aiming to find something for everyone.
“Cheese curds are the go to for fair food, and corndogs,” Kurtz said. “I know the people in charge of our vendors try to get a nice variety, and I believe they said they have three new ones coming this year.”
The annual parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July and is currently accepting applications to be a part of it. Everyone except commercial businesses can join the parade at no cost, but donations are encouraged. Commercial businesses must pay $50.
If you decide to join the parade the line up time will be 9:30 a.m. at the high school. The route will start at East Side Park and travel west on Minnesota Street to Second Street, south on Second Street to Mill Street and cross the bridge, heading to the fairgrounds.
There will also be a Truck and Tractor Pull on the first day of the fair, and Demo Derbies on Friday and Saturday. Right now, the derbies are only allowing those who are 16 years of age or older to drive, but Kurtz said they were discussing possibly having a youth derby.
“The promoter that we’re working with, they try to do a youth class,” Kurtz said. “I think we’re hoping to do that on the second, that’s another thing we’re still working on. I think you can be 14, and you can have somebody in the car with you, a parent or a guardian.”
For the Livestock and 4H portion of the fair, they are still waiting on more information from the state concerning COVID restrictions. Due to the time constraints, they will not be publishing handbooks this year. If entrants have questions the fair consistently monitors their Facebook Messenger and Kurtz encourages people to keep up to date with their website.
“For the 4H and any entries that people are doing we are not publishing a handbook this year because of time constraints,” Kurtz said. “We’re just moving into the future. Every other fair is doing their registration with what they’re entering, y'know flowers, cooking, that stuff, is all going to be done online. They are meeting in the next couple of weeks because all the categories need to be put on the website.”
Mayo clinic is going to be providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the fair. Since the governor's mask mandate lifts on July 1, they will not enforce mask wearing.
There is another meeting schedule for May 17 and Kurtz hopes that everything will be truly concrete by then.
“We’re one of the first fairs,” Kurtz said. “We can’t learn from anybody else. We’re going to have to lead by example.”