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Shelby County Fair shortens time Midway will be open

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New schedule has 4-day break between fair event and horse show

By Ashley Wilkins

 In its 152nd year, The Shelby County Fair will do things a little differently.  For the past four years the fair has operated for ten consecutive days, with the four-day horse shows overlapping other fair festivities.   

This year, however, there will be a four-day gap between the fair and horse shows. 

Shelby County A&M Association President Ray Tucker said the change is a result of unrealized profits.  The association runs the fair grounds and hosts the fair.

“The carnival hasn’t been profitable like we need it to be,” Tucker said.  “Hopefully this will work out better”.

Also changing, the midway rides will only operate for five days, opening on June 10 at 2 p.m.  The carnival rides will remain up until the closing of the fair on June 14.

According to Tucker, the company providing the midway attractions, James H Drew Exhibitions, has been working with The Shelby County Fair for over 40 years, but the A&M association receives only a small percentage of the profits made on ride ticket sales. 

With so many volunteers working, Tucker feels that they would be working too much for too little results.

“It’s just exhausting [on the volunteers],” he said.

The fair will run June 9-14, and the horse show will not begin until June 18 and will run through the 21, with a car show on the final day at 10 a.m.

But concept of having some time between the fair and horse show isn’t new.

“This is how we had it about four years ago,” he said.

In the past, the fair lasted six days and all attractions and events were condensed into that time.  However, according to the Shelby County A&M Association executive secretary, Beth Snider the fair was extended to ten days because of safety concerns. 

“The horse show got too big,” she said. “There were issues with parking and safety. There were some safety issues with the horses and motorsports being together”.

However, Tucker explained that having the carnival take place over two weekends, was putting them at a financial disadvantage.

“The more days you have, the more it costs,” said Tucker.

The fair will now return to its previous six-day schedule, with the horse show being separated.

While some changes have been made, many fair relations will remain the same.  There will still be discounted unlimited ride tickets on Tuesday and Thursday, with the price dropping from $18 to $12.  Before the midway opens, Floral Hall will be open at 10 a.m. June 9 to host gardening, arts, crafts, baked goods and various other judged exhibits.

Despite the fair dates being cut short, the list of things to do remains vast. The fair has a packed schedule of daily activities, events, shows, and exhibitions.

Some of the most popular events include: the tractor pull at 6 p.m. on June 9, the Shelby County Fair Baby Show at 2 p.m. on June 14, The Miss Shelby County Pageant at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 on June 10, and the Shelby County Fair Pet Show at 1 p.m. on June 14.