The coronavirus has prevented the biggest fan attraction at the 97th edition of the Ridgeland Fair – the annual National Tractor Puller Association regional championship.
But, despite that issue, dozens of local volunteers are busy planning the rest of the events for this year’s fair, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, with a demolition derby at Eldon Luer Field on the north side of the village.
“We don’t usually pre-register drivers for the derby,” said Greg Mayer, who is organizing the event along with Adam Skjerly.
But this year, a drawing was organized to offer a cash award to all drivers who signed up early. The chance to win an extra $200 has led to an estimated 75 early registrations for the demo derby, he added.
Meanwhile, Farmers Market organizer Betty Glaser said that 36 people have signed up to sell their wares at the annual event, at locations in and around the Ridgeland Village Park and on a closed street nearby.
“We will be socially distancing the booths,” Glaser said Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Booths will be scattered “in and around the trees, leaving space to walk between the rows of the booths,” she said. “In addition, there will be hand-washing stands in the park.”
Mayer and Ridgeland Fair Board member Kristin Huset said they have not had an issue finding volunteers to work the fair this year.
“We have seven people inspecting (demo derby vehicles) and we’ve had no trouble finding volunteers,” Mayer said. “But if you want to wear a mask, wear one. And, if you’re sick, don’t come.”
Glaser said some volunteers have bowed out.
“We want to respect everyone’s individual decision to attend or not attend,” she added.
Fair Board members include Chad Lambert, Greg Christopherson, Chris Puddicombe, Kyle Puddicombe, Craig Henning, Jay Huset, and Kristin Huset.
The schedule includes:
• Friday, Sept. 4
8 p.m., Demo Derby, Eldon Luer Field. Admission is $10 per adult, $5 per child 12-under. A children’s Power Wheels Derby will take place before the main event.
• Saturday, Sept. 5
Fair Fun Run, distances and age groups include: 8 a.m., 1/2 mile, 7-under; 1 mile, pre-teen; 8:30 a.m. – 2-mile and 10 kilometers, all ages.
8:30 a.m., Tractor Ride; register at Synergy Cooperative. During the ride, there will be a catered dinner at Myron Park in Sand Creek.
11 a.m. Bean Bag Tournament -- under the beer tent; registration fee, $20 per team.
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Farmers Market (continues through Sunday and Monday, Sept. 6-7, same times).
8 p.m.-midnight – Street Dance
• Sunday, Sept. 6
10 a.m., Ecumenical church services, bring your lawn chairs.
11:30 a.m., State Sanctioned Pedal Pull, under the tent. Free admission
• Monday, Sept. 7
9 a.m., Midwest Horse Pullers Association Pulling Contest, Eldon Luer Field, admission $5 per adult, $3 per child 12-under.
11:30 a.m., Queen’s Tea, Ridgeland Community Center, All Visiting Royalty Welcome.
1 p.m., Grand Parade Time; Floats, bands and novelty units welcome.
2 p.m., Music Under the Tent.