The theme of this year’s fair is Carnival Lights and Country Nights. The theme centers around various activities at the fair such as the carnival, rodeo and parade.
Here are some things to go do and see at the fair:
The parade will start at 6:30 p.m. on July 20 at Cheney High School. It will move south on Main Street all the way down from Sixth Avenue to the railroad tracks at Santa Fe. Cheney High School is at 800 N Marshall St.
Candy will be passed out to children during the parade. Parade participants are not required to register ahead of time, so who will be in the parade may be a surprise to spectators. However, spectators should probably expect Kansas politicians since it is election season, said Marti Johnson, the fair’s chairperson of publicity and promotions. Johnson said floats, antique cars, decorated bicycles and tractors have been present in years past.
Food vendors are spread throughout the fairgrounds, and seating is available. There will be 14 vendors at the fair offering a range of food, from classic fair food like funnel cakes from Aussie Cakes to stir fry fresh vegetables with noodles and rice from Wok Hei Noodle House.
All food vendors will be open by 5 p.m. on Wednesday and by 4 p.m July 21-23. Closing times vary depending on the size of the crowd. Some vendors may run out of food by 8 p.m. and some may be open until the fairgrounds close, Johnson said.
There are three new vendors this year: Cousin Hector’s, Original Big Lemon and Battered and Fried. Cousin Hector’s is a Wichita-based food truck that serves taquitos en vaso, sadilla burgers, Chicano fries, chicken and waffle fries and pork belly tortas. Taquitos en vaso is a taquito filled with shredded chicken or ground beef in a cup filled with green salsa, sour cream, pickled pork skin, onion, cotija cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado chunks. The Original Big Lemon is a drink stand that serves lemonade, flavored lemonades and iced tea. Battered and Fried is a Wichita-based food truck that serves fish and chips, Cajun fried pickles, chicken strips and fried okra.
The ranch rodeo features three team competitions that showcase some of the tasks that ranchers complete while working on a ranch. In bronc riding, competitors will use normal working saddles instead of competition saddles to simulate when they are training a new horse. Then teams will compete to see who can sort individual steers out of a herd the fastest. The last competition will feature the ability to handle cattle. Teams will turn out two steers: One will be roped, tied down and marked with chalk to simulate giving it a shot. The other will be roped, loaded into a trailer and then unroped.
Kids ages 12 and under can compete in a calf scramble. Whoever takes a ribbon off a calf’s tail first will win a prize.
The rodeo will start at 7 p.m. on July 21. Tickets can be purchased in advance until the day of the event or at the gate. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. Tickets at the gate are $10 for adults and $8 for kids.
The concept of the demolition derby is for drivers to compete by intentionally ramming their vehicles into one another. The person whose vehicle runs the longest wins.
The derby, at the Fair Grounds Arena, will feature three classes. A front wheel and rear-wheel class will race a figure-eight race on July 22. Drivers can try to avoid or create collisions. On July 23, there will be a bolt and chain class (modified stock cars) and a bone stock class (full-size and compact cars) competing in a traditional demolition derby.
The derby starts at 7 p.m. both nights and the gates open at 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for children. Tickets at the gate are $16 for adults and $14 for children.
Pride of Texas carnival
The fair will have one new ride this year: the Super Shot, a 100-foot-tall free fall drop tower. Riders must be 48 inches tall to ride it. For all other rides, riders must be at least 36 inches tall.
The carnival will run from 6 to 11 p.m. July 22 and 6 p.m.-midnight July 23. Rides are open until 11 p.m. for those with tickets and until midnight for those with a ride wristband.
Tickets and wristbands can be purchased at the Pride of Texas carnival ticket booth. Ride wristbands can also be purchased in advance through www.ourcountyfair.com. Wristbands purchased until July 19 at midnight are $25. After July 19, wristbands are $30 and will need to be purchased at the carnival. Those purchasing wristbands in advance will need to pick up vouchers at the fair’s office and take them to the ticket booth.
The petting zoo will be at Citizens Bank, 306 N. Main St. In years past, the zoo has featured miniature horses, donkeys, lambs, baby goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits and a calf. The petting zoo’s hours are 6-10 p.m. Wednesday, 4-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon-10 p.m. on Saturday.
If you go
When: 5-11 p.m. Wednesday, July 20; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 21 and 22; and 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday, July 23.
Where: Most fair events will be hosted at the Sedgwick County Fair Grounds, 308 S. Main St., Cheney. From Wichita, take U.S. 54 west for 18 miles, then take the Cheney exit and go 2 miles through downtown Cheney. Note: The 5K race at 8 a.m. July 23 and the mile race at 9 a.m. will start and finish at Cheney High School.
How much: Admission to the fairgrounds is free, as is parking. There is a cost to attend some fair events.
More information: (316) 540-3722 during fair week. Office hours are 5-10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. the other days. For more information about daily events at the fair, go to www.ourcountyfair.com.