Fair organizers line up new attractions for '08

Saturday, September 6, 2008
CHUCK WU ~ cwu@semissourian.com Eva Rainwater of Wappapello, Mo., showers one of her goats Friday in preparation for the SEMO District Fair.

In addition to old favorites like karaoke and a pageant, this year's SEMO District Fair will feature new events that require audience participation.

Next Saturday, contestants will have five minutes to cram as many hot dogs down their throats as possible, with a $30 prize for the winner. Later in the day, participants will dress as celebrities and strut to music. Another new event is a mother/daughter, father/son look-alike contest.

"We like to try something different every year. This year with bingo, we're thinking that's going to be a big draw," said Dale Steffens, who is in charge of the activities tent.

The fair kicks off today and is expected to attract around 100,000 people throughout the week. Today's activities include a goat show, washers tournament, karaoke contest and truck and tractor pull. Carnival rides will be offered throughout the day along with traditional carnival foods.

Planning for the event began almost immediately after last year's fair concluded. Members of the board of directors and other organizers brainstormed ideas, looking to other fairs for inspiration.

"We're just trying to keep everybody occupied and give them something to do," said Gary Kight, president of the board of directors.

He thinks the band Styx's grandstand performance Sept. 13 will be the biggest event. The band is best known for such songs as "Come Sail Away" and "Blue Collar Man." Last year's headliner was REO Speedwagon. Both bands have Midwestern roots, specifially Illinois.

CHUCK WU ~ cwu@semissourian.com Workers put together one of the rides for the SEMO District Fair, which starts today.

As for motor events, Kight said today's truck and tractor pull and Tuesday's demolition derby will be a tossup in terms of popularity.

Since 1855 the event has served as a welcoming to fall, although the weather this year may feel more like summer. The temperature is expected to hover in upper 80s/lower 70s throughout the week, but there is currently no more than a 30 percent chance of rain any of the days.

"I think we're going to dodge most of the rain this next week. It'll be a real good time for everyone to get out and enjoy the fair," Kight said.


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Today's events:

8 a.m.: Southeast Missouri Hospital's Women's Distance Run

8:30 a.m.: Antique Tractor Pull, grandstand

9 a.m.: to noon: Open class entries (except livestock), Arena Building

11 a.m.: Boer goat show, Livestock Arena

Noon to 5 p.m.: Carnival, armbands for $18

1:30 p.m.: Washers tournament team event, American Legion pavilion

2 to 4 p.m.: Bingo, Activities Tent

3, 5 and 7 p.m.: Magic of Bob Bohm, North Fairgrounds

3, 5 and 7 p.m.: Woody's Menagerie & Wildlife Exposition, South Fairgrounds

5 to 6:30 p.m.: Karaoke contest, junior division, Activities Tent

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Karaoke contest, senior division, Activities Tent

7 p.m.: Truck and tractor pull, grandstand

Sunday's events:

9 a.m.: Boer goat judging, Livestock Arena

9 a.m. to noon: Open class entries accepted (except livestock), Arena Building

Noon to 5 p.m.: Carnival, armbands for $18

1 to 5 p.m.: Capaha Antique Car Show, Jaycee Drive

1 p.m.: Pet parade (ages 12 and under)

1:30 p.m.: Midwest Classic Horse Show

1:45 to 2:45 p.m.: Smalltown Boyz, Activities Tent

2, 4 and 6 p.m.: Magic of Bob Bohm, North Fairgrounds

2, 4 and 6 p.m.: Woody's Menagerie & Wildlife Exposition, South Fairgrounds

3 p.m.: SEMO Fair Pageant, Activities Tent

New events

Bingo: 2 to 4 p.m. today

Mother/daughter, father/son look-alike contest: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday

Hot dog eating contest: noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 13

Celebrity impersonator contest: 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. Sept. 13

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