The Box Butte County Fair is on, but with some changes for 2020.

“Boots, Jeans, and Nebraska Dreams” is this year’s theme and will run July 25-Aug. 9.

By fair time, we’ll be into Phase 3 of reopening from Covid-19 which means the grandstands can have 75% capacity with be a traffic flow in and out of them.

We will get to enjoy the standards this year, along with a few new events.

Fair clean-up is scheduled for July 25 to get the grounds and buildings ready for all of the shows. Then the Open Poultry Show will start at 4:30 p.m. with registration starting at 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 26: Gymkhana  at 5 pm. This is a new event this year. Gymkhana is an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses. Registration for this event is from 4:30-5 pm and costs $3 per event. Events include poles, keyholes, speed ball, barrels, flag race, egg race, and musical chairs. It will provide fun and entertainment for the family.

On Thursday, July 30, you can enjoy the 4-H Public Style Review and Music Contest at 7 pm.

Saturday, Aug. 1: 4-H Horse Show at 8 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 2: 4-H Dog Show at 11 a.m. followed by the 4-H Cat Show at 1 p.m.

On Monday, Aug. 3, bring your entries for Open Class from 9-5.

Tuesday, Aug. 4 is Family Night! No Kids parade this year because the route goes through the Nursing Home. Family Fun Night goes from 6-9 pm and includes a Junior Rodeo. Bank of the West will sponsor their annual cook out at the Grandstands. The rodeo is put on by Mayfield Horse Company out of Seward, NE. Plan on mutton busting, calf riding and junior bulls for appropriate age groups.

Free cotton candy and snow cones as well as games and bouncy house and 5K glow run at the end of the night (weather permitting).

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Open Class entries for Produce, Fruit and Flowers will take place form 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The rest of the day will really kick things off with the 4-H Poultry Show at 1. The Hops and Berries Contest starts at 2. 4-H Rabbit Show at 4. And the Fair Queen Contest at 8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 6: 4-H Swine Show at 8 a.m. All 4-H Exhibits open at 9 a.m. All Commercial Exhibits open at noon. 4-H Goat Show at 1 p.m. 4-H Small Animal Round Robin at 5:30 p.m. Chore Relays will take place at the Grandstands at 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 7: 4-H Dairy Cow & Dairy Goat Show at 8 a.m. 4-H Beef Show at 9 a.m. 4-H Exhibits open at 9 a.m. Commercial Exhibits open at 9 a.m. 4-H Sheep Show at 1:30 p.m. 4-H Cookie Jar & Auction at 4 p.m. Heartland Pulling Street Stock at 5:30 p.m. at the Grandstands. 4-H Large Animal Round Robin at 7 p.m. Truck and Tractor Pull at the Grandstands at 7:30 p.m. Teen Dance at 9 p.m. at the Multipurpose Studio.

Saturday, Aug. 8: 5K Memorial Run/Walk at 7:30 a.m. Parade at 10 a.m. Commercial Exhibits, 4-H Exhibits, Livestock Buyers BBQ all open at 11 a.m.  4-H & FFA Livestock Sale at 12:30 p.m. Livestock Judging Contest at 4 p.m. 4-H Music Contest at 4:30 p.m. Ned Ledoux Concert at the Grandstands. Country Dance at 9 p.m. at the Multipurpose Studio.

While details for the Auction aren’t solid yet, buyers are invited to come and socially distance as best as they can. The sale will be livestreamed with the opportunity to call in bids for buyers who don’t feel comfortable attending or are unable to attend. Look for more information on this next week.

Sunday, Aug. 9: Worship Service at 9 a.m.; All Exhibits are released at 10 a.m.; Demolition Derby at 1 p.m. at the Grandstands.

The Fair Board, along with Panhandle Public Health, has established some guidelines to help keep everyone healthy and safe:

-Register/buy tickets for events online, print the forms off and send them in, or bring them filled out to the event the day of, to avoid congestion at sign-in tables/ticket booth/office.

-Participants, spectators, and volunteers are encouraged to wear masks (not required)

-If you’re not feeling well, running a temp, etc., please stay home

-Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the fair grounds.

-The grounds will be clearly marked to encourage social distancing, especially in lines for concessions, etc.

-High use areas will be cleaned twice as often as usual.

-In the beer garden, we will ask that people don’t crowd around the bar, we will have more servers and perhaps come to tables if need be, to avoid congestion.

-Volunteers will be asked to wear gloves when appropriate.

-Items used by multiple people will be sanitized between uses.

The schedule is subject to adapt, even into fair week, depending on how our area is doing with Covid-19 cases.

The 4-H kids work hard on their projects and we are fortunate to get to support them.

The new Fair Manager, Sarah Lilley stated, “Ticket sales are double what they were at this time last year, so we’re hopeful that, with every purchase, we will be able to be closer to a “normal” fair, despite these unprecedented times”.

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, you can go to www.bbcofair.com or call 487-5223.

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