MORRISON, Ill. — The 144th annual Whiteside County Fair is underway and organizers were thrilled with the turnout on opening day.

Fair festivities kicked off on Tuesday with the western horse show, open swine judging, the children’s tractor pedal pull and crowd favorite next-level bull riding.

But Tuesday was just the start of what vice president Glenn Frank said could be one of the best fairs to date.

“Personally I think we’ve had a real good day,” Frank said. “I’m hoping, from what we’re expecting, that this is going to be one of our best fairs, as long as the weather holds out for us.”

That expectation comes in part because of the entertainment options the fair board has put together for this year’s event. Fan favorites like the bull riding, demolition derby and truck and tractor pulls have made their return this year, but in an attempt to target a younger generation of fair-goers, the board pulled some strings to bring new acts into the game.

Included in that new entertainment is musical group “Home Free,” winner of NBC’s The Sing-Off.

With a large, nationwide fan following, fair board President Paul Vock and Publicity Director Todd Mickley expect they’ll see a packed grandstand today for the performance.

“We’ve had several, several calls from people away from here asking about it,” Vock said. “I know of people in Madison, (Wisconsin), and Dubuque for sure but people will be coming from all over to see it.”

The motocross stunt show on Thursday is another event expected to draw a large crowd, but most importantly to the board, a younger crowd of people.

For Mickley, it’s important to keep the next generation of fair-goers, and fair organizers, as interested in keeping it as successful as they have.

And with fairgrounds as nice as Whiteside County’s, Vock said, they want people to attend and appreciate what they have in Morrison.

“Our fairgrounds are as perfect as they can be. We’re very proud of it and I think everyone who comes to see it will say the same thing,” Vock said. “We’re not a state fair; we don’t try to be. We’re a county fair and we try to cater to the people who are around here.”

The Whiteside County Fair will continue through Saturday with barrel exhibitions, harness racing, swine, beef and sheep judging, and more.

Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at


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