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'Twas the night before the fair ...
Many events are planned over the eight days of the SEMO District Fair.
To SEMO District Fair Board president Pete Poe, today is Christmas Eve.
The fair gates are the presents under the tree, waiting to be opened at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Workers, like Santa's elves, have spent months preparing for Saturday. One more day, and the fair will be here.
The fair will be full of activities, toys, fireworks and even animals to entertain both adults and children. Only this holiday lasts eight days.
An antique tractor pull at 8:30 a.m. Saturday will take place at the grandstand before the official opening.
Saturday's main event, an outlaw tractor pull, will start at the grandstand at 7:30 p.m.
Lowery Carnival Co. brought a staff of 80 workers in on Wednesday to set up carnival rides. They have been working around the clock to have them up and running by Saturday.
A $15 wrist band will be available for purchase to ride on the carnival rides.
Concession stand vendors and exhibitors have been setting up stands since Monday.
"We had animals that came in starting on Tuesday," Poe said.
This year the fair is presenting Hoffman's Exotic Endangered Cats of the World. The exotic animals include lions, tigers and panthers that will be on display.
Poe said 15,000 people are expected on the opening day of the fair, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
For the first time, the fair will offer fireworks displays at the grandstand. The first will take place at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Another fireworks display will be presented at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 17, the closing night of the fair.
The annual parade from Capaha Park to the fairgrounds at Arena Park will start at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. The parade will begin at Capaha Park and continue along Broadway to Kingshighway and into the fairgrounds.
The parade will feature civic organizations, high school marching bands, antique cars, political figures and a variety of floats.
Grandstand entertainment for the week includes Randy Travis, Tracy Byrd, and the Renegades of Southern Rock. Tickets are still available for all performances.
Local talent will be featured in the fifth annual Heartland Idol contest, also held at grandstand at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Contestants will vie for prizes in youth and adult categories.
For more information on the fair, log onto the fair Web site at semofair.com or call the fair office at 334-9250.
* Fair admission: Adults and Children (12 & Over), $4.00; Children 12 & Under, Free; Weekly Pass: $25
* Antique Tractor Pull: 8:30 a.m. at Grandstand
* Washers Tournament: 1 p.m. at American Legion beer stand
* Midwest Food & Poultry Contest: 2 p.m. at activities tent
* Karaoke Contest: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at activities tent
* Outlaw Tractor Pull: 7:30 p.m. at Grandstand
* Fireworks: 9:30 p.m.