June 12, 2024

Monster trucks adding horsepower to Boone County Fair lineup

Scotty McCreery

Boone County Fair

Aug. 6-11

8847 Illinois Route 76

Belvidere, Illinois

BELVIDERE, Ill. — Four well-known names in the monster truck world will roll onto the grandstand track of the Boone County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 7, to add some horsepower to the fair’s weekday schedule.

“We have had a tremendous reaction online and on our social media to the announcement of this event and we are very excited for it. We’re hoping to sell out the grandstand on the first time on a Wednesday night,” said Tom Ratcliffe, a member of the Boone County Fair board and the PR and communications director for the fair.

“Blockhead,” “Dirt Crew,” “Dozer” and “Maximus” will be the featured attractions in the Triple Threat Monster Truck Spectacular. The event starts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 in the grandstand and tickets are on sale now.

“The event also includes SXS racing and tuff truck racing. It’s going to be quite a show,” Ratcliffe said.

The Boone County Fair opens on Aug. 6 and continues through Aug. 11 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in rural Belvidere.

The annual Boone County Fair Queen pageant opens the grandstand events on Aug. 6.

“After the pageant finishes, we have to go out there and construct a monster truck alley and track,” Ratcliffe said.

The fair’s grandstand events continue on Thursday, with tractor and truck pulls and on Friday night, when Next Level Professional Bull Riding brings its Midwest tour to the fair.

Scotty McCreery, one of the youngest performers to ever win “American Idol,” takes the grandstand stage on Saturday night. McCreery just wrapped up his nationwide “Cab in a Solo” Tour.

McCreery rocketed to fame in 2011 when he won the 10th season of “American Idol,” at age 17. His debut single, that he performed after he was announced as winner, is “I Love You This Big.”

McCreery recently released “Rise and Fall,” his newest album, that includes “Cab in a Solo,” as well as “No Country for Old Men” and “Stuck Behind a Tractor.”

Some of McCreery’s earlier hits include “Five More Minutes,” “In Between,” “You Time,” “This Is It” and “Damn Strait.”

Greylan James, who has earned accolades for his songs that have been performed by Kenny Chesney, Chris Janson, Blake Shelton and Chris Young, will open for McCreery.

James wrote the song, “Happy Does,” that Chesney released as the third single on his 2020 album, “Here and Now.”

James’s own songs include “Ain’t Thinkin’ Bout You,” “2 Years Back,” “You and Jesus” and “Old Truck Young Love.”

On Sunday, the grandstands roar back to life with two demolition derbies.

The Boone County Fair offers a full schedule of free entertainment for families.

“We like to offer a lot of entertainment and activities that families can come and enjoy each day on the fairgrounds,” Ratcliffe said.

“This year, some of our free entertainment includes the Rhinestone Roper, a cowboy and his horse that do roping tricks; The Ready Go Dog Show, a dog frisbee and agility show that features rescue dogs performing a variety of agility and frisbee tricks; the Great Lakes Timber Show, a lumberjack show that includes axe throwing, log rolling and chainsaw woodcarving; and the First Bite Fish Tank, where anglers of all ages can learn to fish, watch others fish or just view the underwater world of a giant fish tank.

“We also have our traditional antique tractor show, where we’ll have 150 to 200 vintage tractors, all makes and models, on display each day of the fair. We will have the Wee Farm Petting Zoo, as well as fair events like livestock shows and our three big exhibit halls, with exhibits and vendors.”

The fair’s entertainment pavilion opens each day at noon and will feature a variety of live local music and other entertainment, including farm broadcaster Max Armstrong, who will be at the fair at noon on Wednesday.

When it comes to keeping fairgoers well fed and hydrated, the Boone County Fair does double duty, with local civic groups operating various food concessions at the fair.

“We have a lot of civic and community groups who participate in the fair every year. They sell food and they use that as their big fundraiser or one of their big fundraisers for the year,” Ratcliffe said.

Different Boy Scout troops operate concessions on the grounds.

“One of the troops has a baked potato stand, which has become very popular, and the other troop, by the grandstand, sells ice cream,” Ratcliffe said.

Other groups include the local Cosmopolitan Club, which sells sweet corn; the local Lions Club, which offers pork chop sandwiches; and the Merri Milk Maids, members of the North Boone Community Unit School District 200 Booster Club, who run an ice cream stand near the main gate.

The Boone County Fair is owned and operated by the Granges of Boone County. Those include Beaver Valley Grange, Big Thunder Grange, County Line Grange, Capron Grange, Flora Grange, Prairie Grange, LeRoy Community Grange and Pomona Grange.

The granges operate their own food building in the center of the fairgrounds, that includes a kitchen, as well as a dining hall.

“During the fair, we have a dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Thursday is pulled pork, Friday is fish, Saturday is barbecued chicken and Sunday is barbecued pork chops,” Ratcliffe said.

“We also serve breakfast every day of the fair, from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. We serve eggs to order, bacon, pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy. People really love that.”

Ratcliffe said the fair board is hoping to break last year’s record crowd.

“We’ve averaged 216,000 people a year since 2017. Last year, we set a record of 226,000 attendance,” he said.

For more information on the 2024 Boone County Fair, call the fair office at 815-544-2900, or go to www.boonecountyfair.com.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor