The 168th Union County Fair begins Sunday, July 20, and runs through July 26.
Opening day kicks off with the Union County Fair Parade at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 20, in downtown Marysville. The parade will start at the Union County Courthouse, 233 W. Sixth St., and end at the fairgrounds, 845 N. Main St.
Union County Fair Board Secretary/Treasurer Emily Zuver said there is no entry fee to be in the parade, but those wishing to participate need to be at the lineup location at the courthouse by 4:30 p.m.
This year’s parade theme is “Community,” and a best float contest is new this year. Cash prizes of $50 to $150 will be awarded for the top three floats, which will be judged by parade committee members.
The fair board will collect nonperishable food items along the parade route and donate them to the local food pantry. Also, fair admission is free on Sunday with any nonperishable food donation.
Royal Tailor, an American Christian pop/rock band, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Local talent will take the stage July 21 in the popular Union County Fair Idol Contest on the QT1270 Stage inside the Allstate Pavilion.
The demolition derby is returning to the fair this year after an absence of several years, Zuver said. The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. July 22. Anyone wishing to participate should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other fair highlights include: KOI drag racing trials, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; the bull riding championship and girls barrel racing, 7:30 p.m. Thursday; and the truck and tractor pull, 7 p.m. Friday.
The Redneck Mud Run, which is in its third year, will be held at 2 p.m. July 28 at the grandstand. Also Saturday, the popular Cutest Baby Contest is at 3:30 p.m. in the Allstate Pavilion, and the Mud Run
Obstacle Course/Truck Race begins at 7 p.m. at the grandstand.
Zuver said the Kid Zone Tent provides a place young fair-goers can go to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the fair. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is sponsoring organized children’s games for ages 2-12 from 1-3 p.m. daily.
Fair visitors will see something new with “flying pig races,” which will take place five times a day Tuesday through Saturday.
“They’re just piglets racing around a little racetrack, and also piglets swimming in a swimming race in water,” Zuver said.
This year’s agricultural exhibits are varied, said Christy Leeds, extension educator and 4-H youth development county director at the Union County Ohio State University Extension Office. The fair will include 157 head of hogs, 132 various poultry exhibits, 55 head of dairy cattle, 160 head of sheep, 106 beef and dairy feeder exhibits, 95 goats and 125 rabbits.
Gates open at 8 a.m. Admission is $6, free for ages 5 and younger and ages 80 and older. An adult season pass is $20. All-day ride bands cost $12, and individual ride tickets are $1.50 each.
Rides will be open 5:30-10 p.m. Monday; noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; and noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.