September 26, 2021

Champaign County: Historic fair to deliver good vibrations

URBANA, Ill. — Nearly 170 years ago a group of Champaign County pioneer families gathered for a day to showcase their best livestock, grain samples and other agricultural products for display.

With few exceptions, including last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic, the Champaign County Fair has been a popular annual summer event that draws rural residents and urbanites alike.

Exhibitors may enter livestock, agriculture products, arts, textiles, culinary items, horticulture, floriculture, needlework and crafts. In addition there is a queen contest prior to the fair and during fair week there is a religious music show, country music show, demolition derbies, harness racing, motorcycle racing, car show, rodeo, tractor pull and semi truck pull.

“The fair board and staff are currently working to put on the Champaign County Fair as scheduled. The health and safety of fairgoers is our top priority and we’ll continue to work closely the Champaign-Urbana Department of Public Health and the National Centers for Disease Control,” the board stated on its website.

The daily schedule of events will available on the fair’s website in early June. However, the grandstand lineup of concerts, races, shows and activities have been set.

Opening night, Thursday, July 22, country music star Gary Allan will perform with Travis Denning beginning at 8 p.m. at the grandstand.

Allan made his country music debut with the release of his single “Her Man,” the leadoff to his gold-certified debut album, “Used Heart for Sale,” which was released in 1996 on Decca. His second album, “It Would Be You,” followed in 1998. Allan’s third album, “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” was his first one for MCA Nashville — to which he has been signed ever since — and his first platinum album.

His next albums, “Alright Guy” and “See If I Care,” both were also certified platinum while “Tough All Over,” “Greatest Hits” and “Living Hard” were all certified gold. His next two albums, “Get Off on the Pain” and “Set You Free,” both reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums charts, at Nos. 2 and 1, respectively.

Denning charted with singles “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs” and “After a Few,” the latter of which has reached No. 1 on the U.S. Country Airplay chart.

The grandstand will be filled with good vibrations on Friday, July 23, when The Beach Boys hit the stage at 7:30 p.m.

The Beach Boys have been an indelible part of American music history for nearly six decades, selling over 100 million records worldwide. The group had over 80 songs chart worldwide, 36 of them in the U.S. Top 40, the most by a U.S. rock band, and four topping the Billboard Hot 100. They were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Stock car races will hit the track on Saturday, July 24, beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed on Sunday by draft horse pulls at 1 p.m. and a 5 p.m. draft horse show.

The Cincinnati Circus will bring its many acts to the fair on Monday, July 26, with shows at noon, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The trotters will hit the oval for harness racing beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, and the volume will be turned up at the track at 6:30 the following evening for motorcycle races.

Monster trucks convene for visitors’ entertainment on Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m., followed the next night by the annual demolition derby.

The grandstand buzz concludes Saturday, July 31, with tractor pulls at noon and 5 p.m.

Champaign County Fair

July 22-31

1302 N. Coler Ave., Urbana, Illinois