MENDON, Ill. -- The directors of the Adams County Fair kept hearing the same thing from many who attended the fair last summer. They hadn't attended in many years.
The fair included a performance from the Oak Ridge Boys, which attracted many fans.
"I'm pretty excited that a lot of people have reached out and said, 'We hadn't gone to the Adams County Fair in years. and we'll be back,' " said Melissa Shriver-Hackamack, a fair board director who serves as secretary. "It's pretty cool."
The 78th annual Adams County Fair kicks off Wednesday and runs through July 30.
This year the fair is bringing in country recording artist Josh Turner on Saturday night, which sparked ticket sales.
"We had the biggest opening day track seat ticket sales that we have ever had in recent memory at least," Shriver-Hackamack said. "We pretty much sold out after the first day on at least the seated side. We do have track tickets still available for the standing-room only side, but those are limited, too."
Shriver-Hackamack said in order to accommodate Turner, the fair rented a larger stage for him.
"He brings a lot of bells and whistles with him," she said. "So we rented the stage for the night so he can bring out all the little extras that make his show so cool."
Because of the anticipated turnout, a shuttle will be offered from the Unity High School parking lot in Mendon from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Two shuttles will be running at all times.
The fair is bringing many favorites back, like bull riding and the demolition derby, and it is expanding tractor pull into two nights. The antique tractor pulls and the pullers with the Illinois Tractor Pulling Association will be on Sunday. Monday will feature the Illinois Farm Pullers Association tractor pulls and truck pulling with the XCALIBER Tri-State Truck Pullers.
The fair also is adding a Appaloosa Horse Show to the horse event roster.
"The cool thing about the Adams County Fair is I feel like we do a really good job of meshing the old with new," Shriver-Hackamack said.
Besides new events, some infrastructure improvements on the fairgrounds have been completed.
The 60-year-old sheep barn has been replaced. The new facility is taller and has more space for sheep stalls.
Funding for the project came from a grants received from the state and a America's Farmers Grow Communities. Removable fencing was purchased for the facility with a grant from Compeer Financial.
The multi-purpose building will be able to store additional campers that will provide additional revenue to the Adams County Fair during the offseason.
A new facility for the Adams County Fair Pageant also was completed. The new quarters, which is double the size of the previous rehabbed mobile home, is handicapped-accessible for contestants.
For times and a complete schedule, visit adamsfair.org.