MENDON, Ill. — As the region struggles to come back to a sense of normal, a touchstone of the summer returns as the Adams County Fair kicks off at this week near Mendon.

Mellissa Shriver-Hackamack serves as co-director for the fair board. She said the board has received a huge response on the return, with people excited to get back to the fair.

“Many fairgoers plan their summer and their vacations around fair time,” Shriver-Hackamack said. “For them, no fair meant a gaping hole in their calendar. In general it seems people are excited to see our traditions return.”

The headline draw for the return of the fair this year is Saturday night’s concert featuring country artists Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye as they bring their “Roots and Boots Tour” to the Adams County Fairgrounds.

Along with the concert, popular events such as the Miss Adams County pageant on Wednesday, bronc busting and bull-riding on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and the demolition derby on Tuesday night to close out the fair.

“The Adams County Fair will offer all the same entertainment options that folks have come to expect over the years,” Shriver-Hackamack said. “We are so excited that we can offer all these big events for our community to enjoy.”

Other events and attractions will return as expected, such as the 4-H shows and judging throughout the week, food and games, and carnival rides by Sonshine Amusements of Alabama.

The fair board had a shortened window for planning and organizing the Adams County Fair this year while the state was working on their contingencies to re-start public, social events in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

“Throughout the fall and winter months the fair board kept open communication with the Adams County Health Department and Adams County Emergency Management,” Shriver-Hackamack said. “We hoped to have a fair, but we wanted to return as safely as possible. Because Illinois had not re-opened as it needed to for large events until late in the spring, we were on hold with much of our planning until that time. Because of that delay in getting the “green light” to go ahead with planning until late April/early May, much of what we normally do has been delayed a bit. But all that work and waiting is worth it to see the fair open again Wednesday.”

Shriver-Hackamack said the Adams County Health Department has helped the fair ensure they are operating as safely as possible within the guidelines.

“One of the best things about our fair is that we offer primarily open air facilities throughout our grounds,” she said. “Our fairgoers have ample opportunity to distance as needed with all the outdoor space to move around. The Adams County Fair Board is also taking a proactive approach as well, offering hand sanitizing stations throughout the fair this year.”

The biggest message the Shriver-Hackamack wants to deliver, as the crowds start to arrive, the kaleidoscope blend of lights and laughter and screams and music of rides and events return to fill the air, is that the summer tradition is right where it belongs.

“We are back this year and we are ready for some fun,” she said.

Check-in for the first event, the 4-H equine judging, opens at 7 a.m. Wednesday and the fair runs through Tuesday night. For a full schedule of events, vendor listings, ticket information, and more, please visit adamsfair.org.

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