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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2008

Clydesdales make return to Monroe County Fair

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - After a five- year absence, the Budweiser Clydesdales are returning to the Monroe County Fair.

Fair director Warren Siebarth said he hopes the famous team of beer wagon-pulling draft horses will attract more visitors to the 61st annual Monroe County Fair, which begins Sunday.

"We are estimating that the Budweiser Clydesdale team will bring 5,000 to 8,000 more people to the fair this year," said Mr. Siebarth, who has directed fair operations for 10 years.

The eight horse-hitch draft team, which will be making its fifth appearance in 25 years, will perform for free at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Aug. 2 in the Glenn F. Stock Arena.

Last year, 135,415 visitors passed through the entrance gate, about 10,000 more than in 2006, when the event was plagued with rainy and hot weather.

The weeks before the fair usually involve finishing touches on new projects, and this year was no different. A paving crew was busy rolling new blacktop on parking areas and pedestrian walkways near the MBT Expo building near the intersection of M-50 and South Rainsville Road.

The fair association's crew of volunteers built a new ticket facility to replace an old structure near the grandstands, and siding was installed on the draft horse barn.

"There were lots of small projects too," Mr. Siebarth said.

The grandstand will be teeming with entertainment.

Country entertainers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert will perform Monday and there will tractor pulling, a rodeo, a Monster Truck show, a demolition derby, and a combine demolition derby.

The midway also will be filled with amusement rides and food vendors with summer staples of onion rings, steakburgers, and French fries.

The price of admission - $5 for adults and $2 for children 6 to 12 years old - remains unchanged from last year.

"It is a good family fair," Mr. Siebarth said.

Exhibits and livestock projects of more than 4,400 4-H youth members will be on display and will be judged during the week.

Judy See, 4-H youth educator, said the 25,581 projects registered this year is the biggest number yet and probably the most in the state.

Members, ages 7 to 19 years old, have raised animals ranging from goats and chickens to horses and cows and will be exhibiting projects ranging from welding and Christmas tree ornaments to flower arrangements and digital photography.

"We think this is the best in the state," she said.



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