Coles County Fair to open Sunday

Derrin Coad, Staff Reporter

As the 162nd year of the Coles County Fair kicks off on Sunday, so too will the familiar sounds, sights, smells and rides that drive people to the fair in droves.

The Fair will be open until Aug. 2, and general admission will be free each day until 4 p.m., then $3 after 4 p.m. The Fair will have free admission all day on Aug. 2.

The Coles County Fairgrounds are located between Charleston’s West Madison Avenue and West State Street, and alongside E Street.

The Grandstand will begin this year with the Little Miss and Queen Pageant contests at 7 p.m. on Sunday. The Little Miss contest features girls between the ages of 5 and 8, and the Queen Pageant will see women between 17 and 22 compete to become the next Miss Coles County Fair Queen.

Tuesday and Thursday will feature a truck and tractor pull in the Grandstand, and the demolition derby will take place on Friday, July 31. Tuesday’s truck and tractor pull will start at 6:30 p.m., and the Thursday truck and tractor pull and Friday’s demolition derby both start at 7 p.m. on their respective days.

Aug. 1 will feature professional bull riding in the Grandstand at 7 p.m., and a gospel show will occur Aug 2 at 7 p.m. as well.

Ron Brown, the second vice president of the Coles County Fair, said that the gospel show is one event that the fair has not seen in several years.

“We brought back the gospel show for the first time in a while, and three groups will be singing for it,” Brown said.

Brown said the carnival, the truck and tractor pulls and the bull riding are always among the largest attractions that bring people to the fair.

When it comes to funding, Brown said the fair is now completely self-sufficient and relies heavily on general admissions and the grandstand to fund itself.

“We used to get paid back from the state for what we paid out, but this year they’ve cut everything off,” he said.

As the year-long process of preparing for the fair meets its fruition, Brown said he is excited for what the fair will offer.

“Well, we’re looking forward to the fair and we hope the crowds come out for it,” Brown said.

A full schedule of events at the Coles County Fair can be seen on the fair’s website.

Derrin Coad can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].