The Scott County Fair will host 14 new attractions and events later this month.
Fair organizers said there will be more food vendors than previous years, offering a unique spread of deep-fried favorites.
“We feel like our fair is a treasure and we want to have as many people come out and experience that as possible,” Fair Manager Rhonda Kucera said.
This year the fair will be held July 24-28. Attendance numbers have been rising the past three years, Kucera said, and she expects that trend to continue with a promising crop of new and returning attractions this year.
The Kent Family Magic Circus will take stage where the popular lumberjack shows were hosted in previous years. Kucera said even though the lumberjack shows were a big draw, fair organizers like to change things up every few years to keep the attractions fresh.
The Kent Family Magic Circus is a mixture of circus, theater and vaudeville — with a sprinkle of side-show — put on by a family of nine that performs across the country. They rotate unique shows daily so fairgoers have a reason to come back time and time again. While the shows vary, they all have elements of circus, magic and fire.
Before returning to the Minnesota Renaissance Fair in August, an escape room attraction will be featured at the fair. The escape room is developed and operated by renaissance fair staff and has two themed rooms.
“Escape rooms are really big right now and we think people are really excited about that,” Kucera said.
Others new attractions include a butterfly exhibit where fairgoers can feed the fancy flutterers, as well as unicycle shows, a comic stunt juggler and an Arabian princess. The Minnesota National Guard’s Red Bull Band will perform a patriotic tribute Sunday afternoon following the fair’s signature draft horse show. A slate of other musical acts will occupy the main stage every night.
Fairgoers and kids are welcome to participate in new contests testing their bale-throwing abilities and rock, paper, scissors skills. The youngest fairgoers can take part in the new diaper derby and toddler trot.
Scottie, a gray horse mascot, will make his debut this year, greeting fairgoers and posing for photos throughout the grounds.
Scott County is one of the only county fairs in Minnesota to host a “Miracle of Birth” exhibit, Kucera said. Each year, animals are bred to give birth on site every day of the fair, around the clock. This year, fairgoers will welcome newborn lambs, calves, piglets and chicks into the world.
“It’s smaller but it’s like the ‘Miracle of Birth’ at the Minnesota State Fair,” Kucera said. “It’s pretty unique to our fair.”
Gold Star Amusements will return with its first-class carnival rides. Gold Star has been a part of the fair since 2015, and this summer they bring popular carnival rides like the Ring of Fire, the Sizzler and a new fun house attraction: the CooCoo Haus.
Returning grandstand events include the Monster Truck Summer Nationals and Thrill Show on Friday, Demolition Derby on Saturday, Motokazie on Sunday, NPTA Tractor Pull on Wednesday, a truck and tractor pull on Thursday and a free Minn-E-Rod show Sunday. Draft horse shows will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This year the fair is dedicated to Dick Ames, who served as a board member and enriched the fair with Eli, a vintage ferris wheel, Amee, a classic carousel, and his can-do attitude. A motto for this year’s fair is a common Ames saying, “It’s a new day, let’s make something happen.”
The Scott County Fair was first known as the Scott County Agricultural Fair in 1857 in Shakopee, according to its website. The fair moved to Jordan in 1873 and to Belle Plaine in 1875, but the Agricultural Society wanted a more permanent spot for the fair. It signed a three-year lease for 20 acres east of Shakopee and laid a half-mile track, an eight-foot fence and multiple buildings.
After a decline in the fair in the late 1880s, it didn’t resurface again until 1897, when it was known more as a street fair featuring live music and bicycle races instead of agriculture.
In 1908, the Scott County Agricultural Society took over the street fair and in 1915, a county fair was held in Jordan. About 7,000 people showed. In 1972, the society bought 80 acres in St. Lawrence Township where it stands today at 7151 190th St. near Jordan.