Countdown to the fair


With a full array of entertainment, live shows and activities, the annual Muscatine County Fair is set to get underway Wednesday, July 17, running through Sunday, July 21, at the historic fairgrounds on the southwest side of West Liberty.

A demolition derby, donkey races, trailer races, top-notch country music entertainment, tractor pull, talent show and more are among the highlights along with a variety of 4-H/FFA livestock shows.

According to fair director Kelsey Meyers, attendees will get a chance to see some improvements on the fairgrounds, from a newly painted sheep barn thanks to the Wapsi 4-H Club, to a new 50 x 80-foot grandstand stage that’s been in the works for nearly a year according to Meyers, replacing the original wooden stage to the grandstand. Another addition is a new livestock weigh station donated by the Muscatine County Cattlemen.

On display will also be plans for a new $2 million state-of-the art activity center. Meyers reported over $908,000 has been donated toward the new structure so far, including a $500,000 gift from the Muscatine-based Kent Feeds corporation to gain naming rights. Meyer said although donations have been plentiful, there is still “a long way to go” before construction begins, hoping to have the building for the 2025 fair.

Daily activities

Along with the carnival on the midway opening most days at 1 p.m., there are a number of daily activities that includes locally benefiting food stands and fun, including a new food stand by Arty’s on the grounds.

The Chris Short Marionettes will put on three shows a day at 2, 4:30 and 9 p.m. and log hogger chain saw artist shows are set for 2:30, 5 and 6:30 p.m. daily. Clowns and magicians will take stage at 1, 3 and 6 p.m. while the West Liberty Sons of the American Legion hosts bingo from 12:30 to 10 p.m. daily.

There is live music and entertainment daily in the Grove area featuring Tom Hofer, Wes Little, Monica Austin, JD Aguilers, Daniel Stratton and Dawn Sumon. Live bands will play at the Midway stage nightly including the Brass Pear on Thursday, the Bootcut Band on Friday, Three Dog Rain on Saturday, all beginning at 9 p.m., while Latino musicians Under LaNueva Loka plays from 4-8 Sunday.


A 4-H/FFA dog show kicks off the day at 8 a.m. in the large show ring with small pets competing at 9 a.m.

The annual West Liberty Lions Club kiddie tractor pull takes place in the south grandstand area beginning at 10 a.m. while the Ryan Building has all kinds of open judging taking place beginning at 11 a.m. for senior citizen knitting and crocheting, baked goods and more throughout the day.

There will be a funnel cake contest beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Midway Pavilion.

Meat goats are being judged at 2 p.m. in the small show ring before the peewee goat competition at 4 p.m. and the production sheep show at 5 p.m.

The highlight of the night will be the crowning of the county fair queen and court at 5 p.m. in the Grove area while a different crowd might be going to the stock car races at 5 p.m. in the grandstand dirt track in five different IMCA sanctioned categories.


The day begins with the popular annual 4-H/FFA swine show in the Daufeldt building at 8:30 p.m. with a peewee show to follow at noon. In the meanwhile, there’s also a 4-H/FFA rabbit show competition beginning at 9 a.m.

Bacon Buddies will take the stage at 3:30 p.m. as local youths with disabilities get a chance to show swine.

The highlight of the evening will be the donkey races at the grandstand featuring local competitors.


The popular 4-H/FFA beef show opens the day at 9 a.m. in the large show arena before the 4-H/FFA poultry show takes place at 2 p.m. in the kiddie barnyard. There’s also a 4-H/FFA pet show in the large show ring at 4:30 p.m.

The highlight of the day should be ECI sanctioned tractor pull that begins at 7 p.m. before the grandstand as drivers compete in eight classes including two truck classes, one a new 6,000-pound light limited modified event.


Beginning the day at 8 a.m. with the 4-H/FFA horse and pony show in the horse arena as well as a 4-H/FFA sheep show in the small show ring, an open bottle lamb show begins at 9:30 p.m.

A corn hole tourney begins at 11 a.m. at the Midway Pavilion before a sweet corn eating contest takes place at 1 p.m. in the same location. The annual ribbon auction begins at 1:30 p.m.

The highlight of the night will be a country music concert featuring singer, songwriter and record producer Tracy Lawrence and opening act Drew Baldridge. Lawrence, who hails from Arkansas, started in the business singing in Nashville at 15 years of age, eventually producing the album “Stick and Stones,” the first of 14. He was Billboard’s top male vocalist in 1992. Illinois born Baldridge is a music singer and songwriter who issued several independent singles.


A 4-H/FFA rabbit show opens the day at 8:30 a.m. in the large show ring.

There is a non-denominational church service at 9 a.m. in the Grove area before the popular demolition derby begins at 11 a.m. before the grandstand.  A new power wheel class is also being offered this year to youngsters following the big guys competition. Youngsters need to provide their own vehicle.

There are also 4-H presentations at 1 p.m. in the activity center and the loghogger auction begins at 1:30 p.m. to benefit the fair.

The Bill Riley talent show, part of a statewide effort to find the best young talent in the state, begins at 4 p.m. in the Grove area with two different age groups competing.