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Old Favorites Blend With New Attractions at Steele County Fair

Steele County fairgoers have been very dedicated toward their favorite foods and attractions, but each year brings in a few changes.

Fair secretary Jim Gleason told KRFO Radio that he occasionally fields suggestions to bring in a replacement for human cannonball David Smith Jr. But Gleason says the crowds are so large for each launch over the midway that he feels good sticking with a proven draw.

The fair brags over 100 food stands. While a few new ones make the list each year, some have been around nearly forever. Burke’s Taffy run by Oz Concessions has been a mainstay for more than 90 years in Steele County. El Sol Mexican Foods has been coming to Owatonna for about 50 years. Click here for the full food list, if you have the stomach for it.

But every year there are changes. This year a new ride will debut on the Gold Star Midway. 2Xtreme was recently acquired from an Italian manufacturer. The ride carries 16 passengers and takes thrill seekers on a 360-degree spin. Those interested in Mega Ride tickets are reminded to go to Hy-Vee Foods in Owatonna before 5PM Tuesday to purchase the $55 ticket. Redemption for wrist bands will begin Tuesday afternoon on the fairgrounds.

Gleason reports that a new performer this year will be The Moogician, a dairy farmer from New York who mixes magic, comedy, juggling and some banjo playing. He will perform several times on the Elmer Reesland stage just outside the 4-H building.

Another first-time feature is the Ag Cab Lab. The hands-on, virtual tractor simulator will give people a taste of what it’s like to drive a farm tractor. This attraction will be on the east side of the fairgrounds near the FFA Barnyard.

Several new musical performers are booked on the stages at Fair Square, the beer garden and the KRFO stage. But the usual favorites will also appear. The United Prairie Bank stage features the Owatonna Community Band and Fabulous Love Handles after the flag raising Tuesday night. Darlene and the Boys cap opening night on the KRFO stage. Dan Stursa entertains on Wednesday, the Bad Tangerines on Thursday, DeKam and Johnson on Friday, American Pie Saturday and Stix of Fury Sunday, just to name a few.

Johnny Holm plays on Ye Old Beer Garden stage Tuesday. Good for Gary performs Wednesday. The Ron Keel Band is Thursday. Friday features Arena and SFO. Saturday is a triple header with Led Penny, Alexandria Demetree and Branch and Dean. Sunday closes with Dan Stursa and Church of Cash.

A new grandstand show debuts Wednesday. The Big Air ATV show was a runaway winner of a Facebook poll, according to Gleason.

The photography and homemade beer displays move to the upper level of the Four Seasons Centre.

Grounds improvements include new fencing around the beer garden, a new air-conditioning system in the Muckle Museum and a new sound booth for the Fair Square stage, thanks to the Owatonna Foundation.

The slogan for this year’s fair could have been, “Scream and Moo with a Few Things New.”

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