Riley County Idol, rodeo highlight fair


Amusement rides, carnival food and rodeo events are upcoming attractions at the annual Riley County Fair, which will take place July 24-28 at Manhattan’s CiCo Park. 

    Jennifer Wilson, Riley County extension director, said the county fair has been an annual event for many years.

    “No one really knows what the exact number is,” Wilson said. “It has definitely been going on for at least 70 or 80 years.”

    The festivities will officially begin at 6 p.m. Thursday with a parade, which will start at Manhattan Town Center and travel down Poyntz Avenue to City Park.   

    A pedal-tractor pull for kids ages 4-12 will follow the parade at Hurlburt Hall in Cico Park. Contestants will use their own power to drive a pedal tractor pulling a weighted skid. Every contestant receives a prize, and the winner in each age group will be eligible to compete at the Kansas State Fair in September.

    Ottaway Amusements will provide carnival entertainment every evening. Wristbands for one unlimited evening of rides can be purchased for $20.
    “There are lots of things to do,” Wilson said. “There will be rides, food and live entertainment every night.”

    The second-annual Riley County Idol event will allow amateur entertainers to showcase their talents. There is a $100 cash prize for four age groups. Competitors will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday.

    Along with Riley County Idol, the Kaw Valley Rodeo will provide entertainment for rodeo fans with nightly performances starting at 8 p.m. July 24-26 in Wells Arena at CiCo Park.

    Other events at this year’s fair include Military Family Night, which will begin with a free picnic at 6 p.m. Thursday in CiCo Park. Military personnel and their families will also receive free admission to the rodeo on Thursday.

    In a special addition to traditional fair food, the Blue Valley Pork Producers will also serve barbecue from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Pottorf Hall Patio.

    Returning for the third consecutive year is Fair Factor, a competition with 10 teams of five individuals who compete in challenges until a winner is crowned. The contest starts at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hurlburt Arena.

    “[Fair Factor] is really hilarious to watch,” Wilson said. “There is really something for everyone at the fair.”