Some new twists in store for 154th Hartford Fair
After 153 years, admittedly it could be a little tough to keep the Hartford Fair fresh, but fair manager Larry Hughes promises some new twists for the 154th annual fair.
This year's Hartford Fair runs Aug. 5-11.
"We're looking (forward) to a great fair," he said, adding that some of this year's subtle changes were out of necessity.
In addition to the fair's traditional livestock competitions, rides, programs and entertainment, the fair features unusual grandstand events daily, beginning Sunday, Aug. 5, with the pickup truck and school bus race at 6 p.m.
Hughes said the pickup truck races were added on the same figure 8 track for some variety. He said that for vehicle enthusiasts, the car show registration begins at 10 a.m. Aug. 5 in the center field, with the award presentations at 3:30 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 6, is the country and western show at the grandstand, featuring artists David Nail and Jason Michael Carroll at 7:30 p.m. Though both are great performers, Hughes said, Nail really is creating a name for himself.
"David seems to be the big attraction," Hughes said.
Tuesday, Aug. 7, is the popular truck and tractor pull in front of the grandstand at 7:30 p.m.
"This is a no-brainer; we've always had it," he said.
The traditional demolition derby is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8.
"That's always a crowd pleaser," Hughes said.
He said that lately, it's been more challenging to lure contestants to the derby, not because the drivers are knocked around during the event but because steel is worth enough that people will sell their old cars for the metal instead of entering them into the contest. Still, he said, he's certain that this year would see strong participation and be as wild and entertaining as ever.
Thursday, Aug. 9, features the motorcycle motocross event, which has an interesting audience that sort of flows in and out of the grandstand as observers enter the grandstand to watch a favorite cyclist compete and then wander back into the fair, Hughes said.
"The food vendors love that kind of a show," he said.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, at the grandstand is the immensely popular rough-truck contest in which local daredevils match their driving and mechanical skills against a grueling dirt course.
"Enough said for that one," Hughes said, adding that the rough-truck contest always fills the stands.
The fair wraps up Saturday, Aug. 11, with the championship horse pull at the grandstand at 7:30 p.m. Hughes said this year is a little different because the contest will include a pony pull to add some variety.
Hughes said that in addition to the entertainment, the fair tries to improve its grounds every year.
"We try to take care of all phases of it," he said, adding that some of the gateway area was blacktopped this year to help parents push strollers or anyone using wheels to move through the gateway more easily.
Hughes said the natural-resources area frequently adds new features, including a new windmill to aerate the pond. The fair also will offer golf-cart transportation services this year so visitors won't have to trudge across the fairgrounds during what's likely to be very hot weather.
For more information about the fair, visit hartfordfair.com.