At 85 years, the Leavenworth County Fair is going strong.
The fair kicked off this week in Tonganoxie, and plenty of activities are planned through Saturday.
The fair, which actually got its start as a way to promote a bumper corn crop in 1926, has evolved into the showing of hundreds more categories in fruits, vegetables, animal, clothing and photography.
After that first year, the event became a corn and apple show, and though the first two events weren’t named the Leavenworth County Fair, it was the organizers’ intent for them to be county fairs. There was a state law in 1927 providing for premium funding from the county, but the Legislature voted down Tonganoxie’s proposal because lawmakers deemed the city to be too small to support a county fair.
But the event continued to grow and eventually was known as the Leavenworth County Fair. It moved from downtown to the grounds of the high school in the early 1930s. In 1938, the fair moved to its current site along Kansas Highway 16.
Here are some highlights of this year’s fair:
• Garden tractor and motorcycle riding at 6 p.m.
• Armband night at the carnival, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
• Musical performances by Wild Hayride, 8 p.m. in the Big Top Tent, free admission.
• Senior Day at the Fair, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Ag Challenge of Champions, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4-H office.
• 46th annual livestock auction, 6:30 p.m., livestock show arena.
• Mud Run, 7 p.m., north of parking area.
• Musical performance by The Fairmounters, 8 p.m., Big Top Tent, free admission.
• Ag Olympics, 10 a.m., Big Top Tent.
• Pie-eating contest, noon, Big Top Tent.
• Turtle races, 2 p.m., Big Top Tent.
• Kids Pedal Tractor Pull, 3 p.m., livestock show arena.
• Demolition Derby, 6:30 p.m., grandstand.