By Stephanie Manley
FREEHOLD – The Monmouth County Fair is coming back to town stronger and more vibrant than before to celebrate the 39th year of this wholesome, fun-for-the-whole-family, tradition.
Last year’s inclement weather dampened the usually festive atmosphere as the fair was hit with strong storms that caused damage to equipment and a decrease in attendance.
This year organizers have upgraded to better quality tents that hopefully will “better withstand wind and rain,” said Andrew Spears, superintendent of recreation for the Monmouth County Park System. Additionally, they have “reviewed and updated emergency plans” to safeguard fairgoers.
The Monmouth County Park System and Monmouth County 4-H, the two organizations working together to host the big event, promises it to be “an old-fashioned county fair with a modern flair.”
According to Spears, what is offered at the fair is “new and fresh” with a “variety for all age groups.”
This year’s fair chairwoman, Patricia Conroy agrees and says it’s a “great family event.”
The annual Monmouth County Fair will run from July 24-28 at the East Freehold Showgrounds on Kozloski Road in Freehold. Hours are: 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 per person; children 12 and younger enter free of charge.
With about 88 vendors, new rides and various special events, the Monmouth County Fair is expected to be, once again, a success.
For those simply enjoying the outdoors and the more classic aspects of a county fair, animal shows and exhibits, the home and garden tent, the agricultural tent, and the living history tent will be featured. Fairgoers can see demonstrations in beekeeping, gardening and crafts. Fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers also will be available for purchase.
Those looking for more thrills can seek out new rides and shows, including Paragon Jousting, the E3 Skateboarding Stunt Show and the Hell on Wheels BMX Stunt Show. All the fan favorites will still be offered this year, including the racing pigs, Bwana Jim’s Wildlife Show and dog demonstrations.
Bakers, gardeners and artists are invited to participate in the 2013 Monmouth County Fair Home and Garden competition.
The staff will be accepting various items – ranging from art to homemade snacks – for judging, some before the fair officially opens.
Artists are welcome to enter works into the amateur art competition with the theme “Off the Beaten Path.” Judges are open to photography, pen and ink, pastels, watercolor, oil or acrylic. After judging, all winning entries of all sectors of the competitions will be displayed at the fair.
Entries of art, photographs, crafts, honey, needlework, and canned goods will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 21 and from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 22. Entries from senior centers will be accepted from 9 a.m. to noon Monday and Tuesday, July 22-23. Contestants with flower and vegetable entries should deliver their product to the fairgrounds between 8 and 11 a.m. Friday, July 26. Those with baked goods should deliver them from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, July 27. Entries for the art competition, framed and ready to hang, should be brought to the fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 21, or from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 22.
“Entertainment is a big part of the fair,” Spears says. “This year’s performers promise to be memorable.”
The Benjamins take the main stage on Wednesday night, local favorite Brian Kirk and the Jirks perform on Thursday, The Amish Outlaws play on Friday, and Daddy Pop will get the crowds dancing on Saturday night.