BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – It looks to be a magical Fair as tiara’s were slipped on queens’ heads, an emotional dedication of a new building occurred Wednesday and Monster Trucks are on their way.
The 2019 edition of the Lee County Fair is in full swing and board president Brock Westfall says it’s shaping up to be a great six-days at the fairgrounds in Donnellson.
“We’re happy with what we’re seeing today. This is upper 80s.. it’s not raining.. it’s not a 100 degrees, and its July so I’m very happy with the showing today,” Westfall said Wednesday after a dedication of the new Abby Denning Shelter House.
“It’s been a busy day being the first day with getting signs up and everything. We even put an ice cream machine under the grandstand this year. We used it on a smaller race night and we sold $650 that night. We probably won’t be able to keep up Monster Truck night, but I think it’s going to be a big hit.”
He said the Monster Truck rally scheduled for Friday is a new twist and is shaping up to be a big crowd pleaser. The world-famous Big Foot will be leaping, bounding and eating cars as part of the revved up show at the Grandstand.
“I think attendance is going up every year and we brought in the Monster Trucks this year for something to give us that WOW factor. Monster Trucks is going to be big. The communication we’ve had on Facebook, Messenger and the questions on this and that…it’s going to be a lot of people.
Wednesday night featured the crowning of the queens, and the Little Miss and Little Mr. Lee County Fair. It was also the third year Iowa Harness Racing entertained fans with excitement and wagering.
Westfall said 400 to 500 people were in the stands ready for the Harness racing. He said more than 250 people had gone in for fish and third annual kick-off fish fry.
The carnival was also back for the fifth year and fair goers were already on rides at 5 p.m. when the carnival opened.
He said livestock numbers are up again this year and the fair board put some money behind that effort as well. The fair put in new pens for sheep and goats on the west side of that barn and cut new entrances and exits for the building.
“Our livestock numbers just get bigger and bigger every year. We just spent $25,000 on goat and sheep pens. We bought the metal locally and Mt. Pleasant Penitentiary they built all of them for $2,200 and then we took them to Illinois to get galvanized dipped,” he said.
Westfall said the Fair made money last year and the board always tries to put it back somewhere. The year before was the showbarn roof and surround sound equipment were both upgraded, but he said it’s the 18-member fair board that keeps things growing
“We have four getting off this year from a 3-year term. We do one meeting a month. Not a lot of work, but everyone has their areas. I do want to give a shout out to Brian Bredemeyer. That guy works his butt off. He’s my go to guy and if I need something done, he gets it done.”
The board is extra busy this year with the addition of RAGBRAI riders landing in the area this month. Westfall said more than 70 volunteers have been lined up to assist with the “Small Town – Big Dill” promotion where the Fair Board will sell pickle sandwiches with a dill pickle cut in half on a hamburger or cheeseburger.
The board is also gearing up for it’s annual Night of Mayhem at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway feature a Figure 8 race. All the funds from the RAGBRAI event will go toward the Grand Stand renovation project.
He said volunteers are planning on selling 1,500 pickle sandwiches and the fourth year president, will be on hand in his pickle costume.
Westfall is in his sixth year on the board. He said he’s reupping for three more years on the board and probably will serve one more year as the president.
Wednesday night evening festivities kicked off with the pageant contests where new royalty was crowned. Brooklyn Pardall, daughter of Eric and Stacy Pardall of West Point was named 2019 Lee County Fair Queen. She was also awarded the Brownfield Ag Network/KILJ Radio award along with Kyle Bredemeyer.
Pardall said being the queen is not just about looking pretty and wearaing a crown, it’s about being a role model and educaiton others about important topics in our area.
Claire Holtkamp, was 1st runner up, Jenna Wenke was 2nd runner-up and Abby Dingman was named Miss Congeniality.
Little Mr. and Little Miss contestants were also drawn and Avery Hopp was named Little Miss Lee County Fair and Aiden McDowell was named Little Mr. Lee County Fair.
The 2019 Lee County Fair Junior Queen was won by Sidney Gruntmeir and Caralena Crooks was named 1st runner-up.