MELVIN, Ill. — For 93 years, the Ford County Fair has been a must-see attraction in central Illinois, and this year’s event will no doubt follow that long tradition.

“Ford County Fair week are weeks that I will cherish forever. It is the place where I began my beef showing career, where I met a countless number of friends, where I learned to never let go of that crazy steer and how to sleep in a barn with many livestock fans and blowers running,” Miss Ford County 2018 Katie Zbinden wrote on the fair’s website.

Chart-topping country music will fill the air with headliner Montgomery Gentry performing Friday, June 28, with Mitchell Tenpenny beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Eddie Montgomery returned to touring last year after a tragic helicopter crash took the life of Troy Gentry in September 2017. This marks the 20th year the band has been cutting albums and touring, garnering favorite new artist honors that first year at the American Music Awards.

The band has been multiple nominees and winners of various other country music awards along with a Grammy nomination and became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 2009.

Just two days after his performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Tenpenny will take the Ford County Fair stage. The Nashville native debut album, Black Crow, was released four years ago, followed in 2018 with Telling All My Secrets.

The Melvin County Fair kicks off with a horse show at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 23, and concludes Saturday, June 29, with a dance from 8 to 11 p.m. featuring Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians with Al Pierson.

Sandwiched in between those two events are plenty of activities for all ages, including the queen pageant Monday, June 24; a popular lumberjack show and talent competition June 25; Little Mister and Miss Pageant June 26; children’s tractor pull June 27; and daily home economics and livestock shows, a petting zoo, carnival and more.

Martin Xtreme Racing — Supercross hits the fairground track at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, with amateur and pro classes. All ages, all bikes and all quads can signup beginning at 3 p.m.

The Illiana Truck and Tractor Pull will draw a big grandstand crowd beginning at 6 p.m. June 27. Prize money will be awarded to pro stock 4X4 trucks, mini rods, outlaw tractors, farm stock tractors and old “skool” classes.

The crunch of metal will be heard at the lawn mower and demolition derby at the grandstand beginning at 6 p.m. June 29 with over $10,000 of prize money for modified wire, ‘80s stock wire, trucks, full-built, small cars and mini van classes.

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