The 98th Cole Camp Fair begins today, and it pays homage to the 175th anniversary of the founding of Cole Camp with the theme “The Heritage We Treasure.”
Today the fair begins around 1 p.m. and features teen contests, a washers tournament, the Future King and Queen Contest, as well as the first of several parades during the fair. At 7 p.m. the Grand Parade of Floats will begin, with the coronation of this year’s Cole Camp Fair Queen coming shortly after 7 p.m. toward the beginning of the parade.
“The parade is the biggest thing we have, there are a lot of floats that have hand fluffed tissue flowers and we also have the queen coronation Thursday night,” said Fair Board President Earl Theisen. “(During the fair) there’s a tractor show, antique cars, you have the carnival. And there’s free entertainment every night after the fair. That’s what makes it nice — if you don’t buy food or ride rides it’s all free. That’s the draw of it. You can buy a chair to watch the parade for $2, but you can stand on the sidewalk too.”
Today the Sedalia Concert Band will perform on the grandstand. Friday entertainment will be provided by the male a cappela group Blend, which performs a variety of well-known songs and Gospel numbers, and Saturday Phil Vandell and his band will close out the fair. Each concert will begin after that day’s parade.
In addition to the free entertainment on the grandstand, the Jaycees Beer Garden will be open all three nights with live music until 1 a.m. A DJ will provide the music for the teen dance at the Teen Garden from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Friday at the fair will feature adult and children’s games during the day and an antique and classic tractor parade at 7 p.m., which is followed by the Grand Parade of Floats.
The final day of the fair starts early Saturday with a 5K run/2-mile walk followed by a Kiddie Parade and the Grand Parade of Floats at 10 a.m. Other events Saturday include a baby show in Legion Hall, a car show at Old Water Tower Park, the Loehnig Family German Band in the Jaycee Beer Garden, and a children’s pedal pull. There will be an antique car parade at 7 p.m. followed by the final Grand Parade of Floats. Theisen said there will also be a coon hound dog show/contest for the first time Saturday morning where judges will count the number of barks and type of bark, which Theisen called “a different type of show.”
“There’s adult games, kid games. Things from a pedal pull to apple peeling, to how fast you can fluff a flower tissue,” Theisen said. “That’s part of the heritage thing, doing games that have gone on for years and years.”
The Fun Time Shows carnival will be set up on the midway along Maple Street with rides and games each day. Those interested in buying a wristband can buy one in advance at select locations in Cole Camp for $15 until noon today. After noon wristbands can be purchased at the fair for $20.
“It’s a small world’s fair to us,” Theisen said of the fair. “Everyone is involved with the street fair, that’s why it seems so big. Some people take a week off of work to help set up, work the fair, attend the fair, and then head back to work the next week. That’s the family heritage feeling when you’re here.”