Old favorites with new fun

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A crowd favorite returns to the Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior next week.

"The Shriners will be back selling turkey legs," said fair secretary Joanne O'Brien.

Fairgoers can expect a bump in the number of steers, pigs and sheep on display as well.

The Douglas County Beef Improvement Association's annual 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction takes place at 5 p.m. Thursday. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the auction, which for the last two years was held separately from the fair.

Add in a tractor pull, hay rides, petting zoo, horse show, live music, demolition derby, new carnival and more.

"We have more of everything than we had in the past," O'Brien said, from vendors to activities.

The week kicks off with free admission for Tuesday's sneak-a-peek. Wednesday's activities focuses on kids, with 4-H and open-class judging as well as children's games, hay rides and a kiddie demolition derby. Thursday, it's all about the beef, pork and bingo. Horses take center stage during Friday's horse show; tractors and horseshoes dominate July 15. Fair fun caps off with cowboy church and a demolition derby July 16.

For volunteer Brooke Johnstad, preparing for this year's fair has been a whirlwind of activity. The town of Summit woman is organizing the tractor show and pull as well as the kiddie demolition derby.

Last year, the inaugural tractor show drew a crowd of about 250 and led to 47 "hooks," or pull-offs between machines.

"We're hoping to get more tractors, more pulls, more people to come out and see it," Johnstad said.

She's also a 4-H leader and mom. All three of her boys will be entering exhibits at the fair.

Brice, 13, plans to bring a steer, cow and calf pair, and sheep.

Mason, 5, will display his drawings, and arts and crafts projects in open class. Youngest brother Gavin, 3, is also submitting drawings and artwork in open class.

"He just likes to see his drawings and artwork out so people can see it," Johnstad said.

If it gets a participation ribbon, she said, that's just a bonus for the 3-year-old.

"We feel that it is important just for the community to come together to show the different talents people may have," Johnstad said.

That can range from a plate of perfectly-baked cookies to a ceramic vase. Last year, Johnstad was surprised when one youngster entered chicken pants. The name summed up the project — pants worn by chickens when it's cold.

"It's very fun to see what kids can do, what young adults can come up with, what they can create," Johnstad said.

This year, a Friends of the Fair group was created to give the annual event new direction. Organized volunteer efforts made a dent in painting and building projects at the fairgrounds at 4700 Tower Ave., including a new ticket booth.

"We've got a lot of things ready to roll," O'Brien said. "We've had a lot of help."

But there's still a lot to do, she said. In fact, a call went out this week for 4-H volunteers to paint the announcer stand.

Everyone is invited to join the fledgling friends group and to lend a hand when opportunities arise.

"We're always looking for input on what people would like to see," Johnstad said. "We'd just like to see what the fair could be with everyone having a hand in it."

Visit holfair.com for a schedule of events, contact information and rules for entering the kiddie demolition derby, tractor pull or demolition derby. People can also call (715) 394-7848, email hfair839@msn.com or visit Head of the Lakes Fair on Facebook for information.

Season passes cost $15 through Monday, $20 beginning Tuesday. Daily admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 6-17. Children under 5 attend for free.

Carnival rides will be offered from noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Wristbands are $20 all day, every day.

The Duluth Transit Authority and the city of Superior will provide special evening service between downtown Duluth, downtown Superior and the fairgrounds beginning Wednesday through July 15. The bus will depart the Duluth Transportation Center hourly from 6:15-10:15 p.m. with service along route 17 to South Superior. The bus heading to the fairgrounds will pick up riders in Superior hourly from 6:28-10:28 p.m. at the intersection of Tower Avenue and North 14th Street. Return trips from the fairgrounds will run hourly from 6:40-10:45 p.m.