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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Phelps County Fair focusing on local talent, community events

  • 4-day event is July 23-26
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  • Singer-songwriter Michael Conners is looking forward to stepping on the stage at The Grove as the headliner for the last night of the 67th annual Phelps County Fair.
    However, this isn't the first time the Salem native has performed in Rolla.
    Three years ago, Sony/Columbia country artist Trent Willmon was the headliner for the county fair.
    "I played before him," said Conners. "When he came on, he invited me up to play with him. It was a really big deal for me. Trent opened a door for me."
    Today, the two are good friends, writing songs and performing together in Nashville.
    "We are focusing more on our own community this year in terms of the entertainment," said Anita Studdard, one of the Phelps County Fair's vice presidents.
    This year's fair which runs Wednesday, July 23, through Saturday, July 26, will take place at the Phelps County Fairgrounds south of Rolla off Highway 63. This year's theme is "Spirit and pride country wide."
    The local community focus of this year's fair includes performances by bands such as The Branded Desperados, Collin Nash, Special 20 and the Farethewells among others.
    Studdard, who has been a part of the Phelps County Fair Board since 2008, said that another focus this year is putting a family-friendly face on the four-day event.
    "In the past, we have had events for the kids, for the teens and adults; this year we are trying to involve families as a whole," she explained.
    "We are going to have a hay bale decorating contest, that we hope our 4-H families will get involved in. Also, new this year is there will be some workshops in the agricultural side such as on how to milk a cow or how to plant award-winning fruits and veggies," Studdard added.
    She is also excited about ATV Rodeo which will take place Wednesday night. According to her, this event keeps growing.
    The fair has added some new rodeo events and some new classes of racers as well as an ATV pull to go with their fair favorite garden tractor pull which takes place in the grandstand Saturday morning.
    Of course the fair also will include those things which keep folks coming back year after year, decade after decade — great food, great rides, great entertainment...and of course the diaper derby, which is at 7 p.m. July 25 at the Midway Stage.
    "I like the idea that it is a family tradition," Studdard noted. "They can come on out and there is something for everyone."
    Other pageant favorites include the queen and princess pageant set for Wednesday, July 23, at 6 p.m. at The Grove; judging of livestock Thursday and Friday, July 24-25; an amateur talent contest July 24 at 7:30 p.m. at The Grove; Bulls, Broncos and Barrels Bash July 24 at 8 p.m. at the grandstands; the Little Mr. and Miss Phelps County Pageant July 26 at 9 a.m. at The Grove; livestock awards and sales July 26 at 1 p.m. at the sales barn arena, demolition derby July 26 at 7 p.m. and the grandstand and more.
    Page 2 of 2 - There are also several children's games scheduled for each day of the fair.
    A season pass purchased prior to Tuesday, July 22, is $25 or $30 for an adult purchased at the fair gate July 23.
    Daily admission for ages 11 and over is $10 Wednesday and $15 Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The cost for children ages 6-10 and seniors ages 65 and older is $8 every day and children under age 5 can get in for free.

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