2021 Fair Guide: 3 rides and a lot of food

by Charles Gerian

The Kay County Free Fair Board met last week to finalize the details of the upcoming Kay County Free Fair, which is returning from a one-year hiatus after being canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic in September 2020. The board’s final meeting to confirm the lineup for the 2021 fair will take place Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Event Center at the fairgrounds.

The pandemic was the topic of conversation during the fair board’s meeting, where board members discussed precautions against the “delta wave” that is sweeping across Oklahoma and the nation. As such, the fair will have only two or three rides this year. Board members said this year’s fair is a “scaled-back” version. The main attractions will be talent and entertainment as well as food trucks and vendors.

As of the meeting Ottaway Amusement Co out of Wichita will be bringing limited rides this year due to the ongoing pandemic with planned rides to be the “Freakout”, an elephant ride for kids called the “Flying Jumbo”, and possibly “The Sizzler”. Ottaway also brings with them their iconic Funnel Cake stand.

For entertainment, the JD Bower Band a Red Dirt act from Stillwater, will perform Wednesday night with the Kay County Scholarship Pageant to be held Thursday evening. Jory Blagdon will perform Friday night, and Saturday will see the Pedal Pulls, Ranch Rodeo, and Mutton Busting.

Food vendors, as of Monday, August 23, include Fork In The Road (specialty sandwiches, burgers, and salads); B&G Concessions (Indian Tacos, corn dogs, taco salads, nachos); Blackwell’s Bethesda Church Booth; Blackwell Wrestling Club’s baked potato booth; Cactus Jacks (gourmet burgers, brisket, pulled chicken); Connie’s Concession (curly fries, fried candy bars, fried flowered onions, fried pickles); Cooly’s from Blackwell (shaved ice); Dairy Queen in Blackwell; Dewayne’s BBQ; Dos Locos Gringos (tacos, burritos, eccentric Mexican dishes); Greek & Italian Grill (gyros and more); Green’s Buckboard (fish tacos, turkey legs, pork loin sandwiches, fried green tomatoes); L&E Concessions (nachos, hotdogs, pretzels, popcorn, etc); Crown & Associates (funnel cakes, corn dogs, drinks); Blackwell House of Prayer; Blackwell’s First United Methodist Church youth booth; and Okie Old Time Rootbeer (as the name implies).

Business and organization booths will include the Blackwell VFW, Cherokee Strip Quail & Pheasant Forever, Clinical Loves & Gives, Cowley College, Ecowater/Moore Water Treatment, HRI Roofing & Post Frame; the Kay County Republican and Democratic parties, the Newkirk Chamber of Commerce, Northern Oklahoma College, Ponca City Noon Ambucs, P&K Equipment, Realtree United Hunting Properties, Stillwater Medical-Blackwell, United Country Shaw Real Estate, Back N Birdie Farms Metal Art, Five 80 Clothing, Tupperware, Twisted Tribe Boutique, and the Water Bead Emporium.

The fair also will host the annual livestock show, and coronavirus safety precautions will be in place. Ottaway Amusement Co. of Wichita, Kansas, will bring a limited number of rides this year. They include the “Freakout,” an elephant-themed ride for kids called the “Flying Jumbo,” and possibly “The Sizzler.” Ottaway will also bring its famed funnel cake stand. For entertainment, the JD Bower Band – a red dirt music act from Stillwater – will perform Wednesday night, with the Kay County Scholarship Pageant taking place Thursday evening. Jory Blagdon will perform Friday night, and Saturday will see the pedal pulls, ranch rodeo and mutton busting.

The livestock portion of the fair will begin with the book-keeping and particulars on Sept. 13. Entries will be taken at the Event Center for agriculture and 4-H members from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Entries for science, arts and school exhibits will take place from 6-8 p.m. Entries for plants and flowers will also be taken Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The judging of OHCE exhibits in the Event Center starts at 9 a.m. Cattle checkin will also take place at the Event Center from 4-7 p.m. Poultry and rabbit check-in will take place from 4-7 p.m. at the Livestock Pavilion, and entries for the horse show that Saturday will be in the horse arena from 4-7 p.m.

Wednesday will begin with the judging for crops, education, 4-H and FFA domestic science exhibits, fine and domestic arts, horticulture, plants and flowers at 9 a.m. in the Event Center. Judging for chickens will occur at the same time in the Livestock Pavilion. Also in the pavilion, rabbit judging will begin at 5 p.m., with sheep and goat check-in from 4-6 p.m.

The cattle show will be Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Whitman Arena.

Thursday will see the Friends of the 1893 Land Run group meet for a covered-dish luncheon in the Kay Room on Doolin Avenue at noon, followed by their annual program at 1 p.m. Cleanup for the livestock pens and areas will begin at 5 p.m. in the Livestock Pavilion and Whitman Arena.

It’ll be followed by the tractor-driving contest east of the horse arena at 6 p.m. The sheep show will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed immediately by the goat show in the Livestock Pavilion. On Friday, the 4-H and FFA livestock judging contest will begin at 9 a.m. in the Livestock Pavilion, with the hog check-in at 5 p.m. and hog show at 6:30 p.m.

Those events will also take place in the pavilion. On Saturday, the Kay County Horse Show will be in the Horse Arena starting at 9 a.m.

On Sunday, rabbits will be released to their owners from 7-10 a.m., and poultry will be released from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All other exhibits will be released from 1-2:30 p.m. The last horse show will be at 1 p.m. in the Horse Arena.