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With funnel cake, carousels, and candy-apple booths filling the Lucas County Recreation Center, it must be time for the fair.
The 145th annual Lucas County Fair starts today and runs through Sunday, featuring the usual assortment of games, contests, carnival rides, and -- of course -- food.
This year's menu includes favorites such as pizza, fries, elephant ears, corn dogs, and all the typical calorie-rich foods, along with several kinds of ethnic cuisine scattered throughout the fairgrounds.
And that doesn't include the lawn-mower racing, cheerleading competition, pro wrestling, apple-pie contest, classic car show, animal exhibits, and multiple live music acts scheduled throughout the week.
The number of food vendors and livestock exhibits is up from last year, said Chris Weimer, the President of the Lucas County Agricultural Society.
The Lucas County Fair also expects an attendance increase over last year, he said.
To draw more people, the fair is offering free gate admission Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair also moved its start date two weeks earlier from 2011 so the event would not compete with other nearby county fairs.
Relatively moderate heat forecasts for the week also put the fair directors at ease, said Mr. Weimer, noting last week's record-breaking heat made them anxious about livestock safety. The current forecast temperatures should be safe for the animals, he said.
The fair's "Babyland" area also expanded from last year, with Mr. Weimer calling it among the best in the state.
The exhibit features a science-themed "Imagination Station," along with the chance for kids to plant flowers and see baby goats, ducklings, and newborn rabbits small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
The area is designed to appeal to families and small children, and to help acquaint them with various features of rural life, said Whitehouse resident Heather Fox, 26, who runs the exhibit.
Another child-centered offering is Wednesday's "Kids' Day," which features activities all day throughout the fairgrounds, including a pedal tractor pull for everyone aged 4 and over.Separated into appropriate age groups, participants get to compete pulling a trailer with miniature pedal-operated tractors.
New this year is Figure 8 Dirt-Car Racing Sunday afternoon, which replaces last year's demolition derby. Mr. Weimer said the offering reflected increased desire among fair-goers for a Figure 8 event as opposed to the derby. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, and spectator admission is $3.
The Danger Brothers, an Ohio-based band that plays an array of rock standards, also promise to be big draw with their Friday night concert.
Sunday is "Veterans' Day," with all active duty and reserve military members receiving free admission and a free lunch in the recreation hall.
Contact Casey Sumner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6084.
If You Go:
What: The 145th annual Lucas County Fair.
Where: Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key St., Maumee.
When: Today through Sunday.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today through Thursday; until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 8 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $6 (excludes rides); children 5 and under admitted free.
Rides: $5 a person per session today and Wednesday. Sessions are noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until close Sunday. Second session is $10 Thursday through Saturday, and all-day passes for $12 those three days. All-day ride passes for $5 Sunday.
Cost-savers: Free gate admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Thursday.