The 53rd annual McCracken County Fair officially kicks off this year on Monday at Carson Park in Paducah. The fair will bring back some favorite events and feature new ones as well, all of which benefit local youth programs.
Various animal shows will take place during the week, exhibiting beef cattle, horses, lambs and goats and giving participants a chance for a cash prize and ribbon. 4-H exhibits will also be presented throughout the week and judged for the coveted Purple Championship Ribbon.
Harness racing takes off at 6 p.m. Monday, followed by the wiener dog races at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Talent Show will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Garden Tractor Pulls start at 7 p.m. Thursday, and the Demo Derby kicks into gear on Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m.
The motorcycle races will be replaced this year with Blues & BBQ, a night of Southern food and music. A concert will feature blues groups Lew Jetton & Highway 61 South and the Alonzo Pennington Band.
Belle City Amusement rides and concessions will take over the midway with many opportunities for discounted admission for the whole family. Monday is Family Night with $20 armbands per person and unlimited rides from 5:30 p.m. until closing. Monday is also Pepsi Night, which offers free admission to those who bring in two canned foods or one pair of gently used shoes. All food will be given to Paducah Cooperative Ministry, and the shoes will go to Kicks for Kids.
Tuesday is McDonald's Armband Night, offering $5 off a $20 armband with a McDonald's coupon. Thursday is Beacon Drag Strip Armband Night with $5 off an armband with a ticket stub from the Beacon Drag Strip. Both nights offer rides from 5:30 p.m. until closing for one price. Saturday is the Midnight Magic event from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. offering $20 armbands.
All proceeds from the fair go toward area youth programs, including the Ronald McDonald House, St. Nicholas Clinic, the Special Olympics, St. Jude Research Hospital, Kids Against Hunger, Child Watch and more. Funds are received by the Kiwanis Club of South Paducah, which invites charities to its annual Christmas Party and presents each with a check. Last year, the Kiwanis Club dedicated more than $37,000 to the programs.
Fair board chairman Denice Cicardo hopes this year will yield even better results for the programs and invites everyone to join in the cause.
"We're trying really hard to make this a community event," she said. "We want schools, kids and families all to be involved. It's really a hometown type of fair."
Contact Katie Paxton, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8655.