'Weekend for the Fair' set Saturday

Fair board's biggest fundraiser has harness horse races, truck show, kids' activities, steak dinner and auctions


A full slate of events that include an antique semi-truck show to harness horse racing, kids activities, live music, steak supper and auctions is on the table this Saturday, June 12, as the Muscatine County Fair ends it’s COVID-19 pandemic fight with their biggest fundraiser of the year.

The “Weekend for the Fair” will be an all-day event that begins at the county fairgrounds in West Liberty at 10:30 a.m. with an antique semi-truck show, put on by the southeast Iowa Chapter of Antique Truck Enthusiasts Group.

Fair manager Kelsey Morris says she doesn’t know what to expect from the fundraiser following the pandemic when the fair had to be held virtually last year, but says there are all kinds of support for the five-day event that runs July 21-25 and expects a lot of those fair enthusiasts will come out in numbers to help get the fair back on track again.

“It’s my first fair fundraiser,” said Morris, who was appointed to the position following the 2019 fair. “So I really don’t know what to expect. I just know we have seen a lot of support.”

That support has come in the way of items for both the silent auction and live auction that day – including home made items like a wooden log slab end and coffee tables to hand-made quilts, home-made Case and John Deere benches, wreaths and at least a half-dozen themed gift baskets.

The Grandstand gates open for the day at 11 a.m. and the horses begin warming up on the track at 11:30 a.m. before the harness horse racing begins at 12:30 p.m. on the dirt oval. There is a small entry fee per person and youngsters are free to watch the horses race.

Those races will continue until around 3 p.m when Lefty and the Spinners, a popular Muscatine band that is now in the Music Hall of Fame, takes center stage at the Midway Pavilion behind the grandstand, playing until 6 p.m. A free will donation will be taken at the door.

From 3-7 p.m., Morris has set up a new attraction, free kids' activities that will be held under the shady trees by the Midway Pavilion, where there will be a giant sand box with all kinds of shovels, pails and more. Youngsters will enjoy water balloons, coloring and there will be all kinds of Little Tykes toys to ride and play with.

A silent auction of dozens of donated items and gift certificates takes place from 3-6 p.m. in the pavilion before a live auction of major donations begins at 6 p.m.

There will also be a grilled ribeye steak supper served from 4-7 pm. at the Midway Pavilion to include baked beans, potato salad and dessert.

“This is the fair’s number one fundraiser,” Morris said, hoping residents from all over the county come out to have a fun-filled day, grab a great meal and spend some money on an auction item or two.

Other items in the auctions include a Neora basket, wine basket, an air compressor, gallons of Round-up herbicide, Pampered Chef baskets, metal flower display, tools, bird houses and much more.