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Sandwich Fair marks 125th year

William AlagnSeymour drives Alagniappe horse he owns trains first heharness racing Sandwich Fair 2009.

William Alagna, of Seymour, drives Alagniappe, a horse he owns and trains, in the first heat of harness racing at the Sandwich Fair in 2009.

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Updated: October 5, 2012 6:00AM

SANDWICH — It has covered eras that featured the sounds of horses whinnying and carriages creaking to car radios blasting and teenagers squealing.

The Sandwich Fair is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

The Sandwich Fair, actually the DeKalb County Fair, runs Wednesday through Sunday on the oak-shaded Sandwich Fairgrounds along Suydam Road on the west edge of Sandwich.

The 2012 prices for gate admission are $8 for daily admission for adults, and $5 for children ages 6 to 12, with children 5 and under free. Season tickets are $20 for adults, $8 for children.

For information on tickets for the grandstand performances, visit the fair website at or call the Sandwich Fair office at 815-786-2159.

There’s also free entertainment, shows and performances. Besides clowns and musical groups wandering the fairgrounds, the events on the Ag Land Stage, the Home Arts Building stage, and the livestock arena are free to fair patrons.

Opening day

Wednesday traditionally is Children Free Day, with kids ages 12 and younger admitted free at the gate and from 5 p.m. to closing.

Opening ceremonies for the historical day will be at 10 a.m. A parade across the fairgrounds will feature a color guard, World War II veterans, and the Sandwich High School marching band and chorus. After a brief program, a 125th birthday cake will be served in the hospitality tent. Judging in the Open Show and Junior Show competition starts at 9 a.m., with experts selecting the finest in categories ranging from fruits to photography, needlework to baked goods.

Open show livestock — such as goats, beef and dairy cattle, swine, poultry, rabbits and sheep — will be judged starting at 9 a.m. in the livestock area. The open show livestock will move out Friday to allow space for the Junior Livestock Show Saturday and Sunday.

Entertainment on Wednesday includes a Western horse show starting at 9 a.m. and running all day in the livestock area arena; harness racing on the half-mile racetrack in front of the grandstand at 11 a.m.; Max Armstrong, along with the “Round House” band, on the Ag Land Stage at noon; and Sherri Farley playing her hammered dulcimer on the Home Arts Building stage at 1:30 p.m.

The Ag Land Stage will feature performances by the Ashley Lewis Band at 5 p.m. and the Fiddle Contest at 6 p.m.

The grandstand performance at 6:30 p.m. stars Tommy Peterson’s Hell Drivers and Paul Shafer’s Monster Truck.

Thursday events

Thursday is Senior Citizen Bargain Day, with senior citizens paying $5 for gate admission until 5 p.m.

Activities that day on the Home Arts Building Stage include culinary competitions and music. A 125th anniversary Ice Cream Social is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Hospitality Tent.

Grandstand featured events Thursday include harness racing on the half-mile track starting at 11 a.m. and an annual favorite, NTPA Truck Pulls, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Friday highlights

Friday is Bargain Day and Armed Forces Day, with everyone admitted for $5 at the gate until 5 p.m., and those currently serving in the military, with military identification, admitted free until 5 p.m.

Special events in the racetrack’s infield, recalling century-old entertainment, include a baseball game at 5 p.m. that pits the Somonauk Blue Stockings against the Sandwich Millers and a hot-air balloon launch at 6 p.m.

Performances on the Ag Land Stage include the WSPY Show at noon; the Talk Of The Town Band playing USO-style music as an Armed Forces tribute from 3 to 5 p.m.; and the Frett Brothers from 7 to 11 p.m.

Friday’s music headliner is Justin Moore, who was named Billboard’s “Top New Country Artist of 2009.” The show is scheduled for 8 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

Saturday lineup

On Saturday, there’s a first-time event, a local talent show, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the Home Arts Building stage, with former Sandwich Fair Queens invited to attend.

On the Ag Land Stage, the Wooden Rockers will perform from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Back Country Roads will play from 7 to 11 p.m.

The Northern Illinois Outlaws will portray the “Showdown In DeKalb County” at 2 p.m. in the livestock arena.

Micro-mini tractor pulls will be held at 7 p.m. in the livestock area, with NTPA Sanctioned Tractor Pulls in front of grandstand audiences at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, closing day

Sunday, in the livestock area, junior show judging will continue; the sheep lead classes will be at 2 p.m.; the draft horse pulls will start at 1 p.m. in the arena; and Drift Away will play from 1 to 4 p.m. on the Ag Land Stage.

The Sandwich Auto Show, with displays of antique and classic cars, will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the racetrack’s infield.

Demolition Derbies and Monster Truck Demonstrations are at 1 and 3 p.m. in front of grandstand audiences.

Gate admission of $5 will be 3 p.m. to the end of the fair.

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