STATE FAIR: Opening Ceremony A Success

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Beautiful weather greeted the big crowds headed to the grounds early Thursday morning for the opening day of the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

Visitors enjoyed great weather, good food and a surprise at the 9:00 a.m. opening ceremony.  Crowds cheered at the ribbon cutting in front of the Cattle Barn and they had a lot to celebrate.  This year the Fair Board is celebrating two big milestones.

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds read a proclamation honoring the Clearfield Lions Club.  The group started transporting campers from the campgrounds to the fairgrounds fifty years ago.  Estimates range between eight and nine million campers used the service over the years.

The board also celebrated the Blue Ribbon Foundation for 20 years of raising money to restore the fairgrounds including a surprise for retiring director, John Putney.  Putney raised $95 million since the foundation started.  The cattle barn is now named after him and his family.

“I was shocked, in fact.  I wondered where the opening ceremony was. I really didn’t realize it until I was having breakfast, and somebody said it was going to be here,” Putney said.

And what’s the fair without a little live music?  Casting Crowns, a Christian Band, will take the stage the first night of the grandstand with Jeremy Camp opening.  The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $30.  Taking the Budweiser stage at 8:00 p.m. is the classic rock band, Blue Oyster Cult.  Also at 8:00 p.m., the Susan Knapp Amphitheater has some good old fashioned, fiddle playing, country music from the farm.

The fair is open from 7:00 a.m. until 1 a.m. each day through Sunday, August 18th.  Tickets are $11 for adults, ages 6-11 are $5.