Everything you’ll need to know about the fair and more
The Steele County fairgrounds in Owatonna will be the place to be August 16 – 21, as we “Celebrate the Red, White and Blue in 2022.” The Steele County Free Fair, Minnesota’s biggest county fair, has over 5,000 free exhibits including 200 animals, the FFA Children’s Barnyard, the Great Outdoors Center, and the A-Z Petting Zoo, sponsored by Community Bank Owatonna and R & K Electric, to delight fairgoers. Free entertainment will be found on three outdoor stages and in the beer garden. In addition, 300 indoor commercial exhibits, over 200 outdoor vendors - including 100 food stands, and up to 40 thrilling rides on the Goldstar Amusements midway will be available daily.
Discover Steele County’s Past
Explore the fair in its early days in the Muckle Fair Museum and then wander over to the Village of Yesteryear and relive Steele County’s history in the village buildings. While in the village, take in the Gandy Company “Old Iron Show,” featuring a large display of antique tractors and small engines, plus take a seat at the Village Stage to enjoy a variety of music and entertainment. Great conversations of the county’s storied past are sure to happen in the Muckle Fair Museum and the Village of Yesteryear.
Old Time Music
Fairgoers that enjoy listening to some great polka music will want to be in Fair Square Park on Thursday, August 18. The Wendinger Band will kick off the afternoon at 12:30 p.m. followed by the ipolka Band at 4 p.m. Friday at 12 p.m., the ever-popular Dan Stursa Band will be on stage playing some great old-time music, too.
The Dan Stursa Band will return to entertain fairgoers on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. in Ye Old Beer Garden. The Village Stage in the Village of Yesteryear will also feature toe-tapping old-time tunes throughout the week.
The United Prairie Bank Stage in Fair Square Park, the Elmer Reseland Stage at KRFO Town Square and the Village Stage in the Village of Yesteryear will feature free entertainment each afternoon and evening throughout the fair. The Steele County Free Fair is proud to honor our veterans at the flag raising ceremony in Fair Square Park at 5 p.m. on Tuesday,
Aug. 16, as we officially “Celebrate the Red, White and Blue In 2022.”
The United Prairie Bank Stage will feature some great entertainment starting on Tuesday with the Owatonna Community Band followed by the Steel Canyon Band featuring Owatonna’s own Scott Rogness as the lead singer. Wednesday will feature the Power of 10 and Thursday evening the ever-popular Whitesidewalls will entertain with music of the 50s and 60s. Friday evening Janelle Kendall and the Perfect Storm, formally known as Walter’s Wheelhouse, will be on stage to entertain us with some country and rock music and Saturday evening Transit Authority will recreate the sounds of Chicago. Sunday afternoon entertainment will feature the Chubs Band out of Rochester followed by music by the Eclipse Band. The Owatonna High School Football/Cheerleader Rally will wrap up the entertainment on this stage at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21.
The Elmer Reseland Stage in KRFO Town Square will provide entertainment for children and adults alike. The Moogician will be returning with three shows of magic, juggling and comedy daily. New to the stage this year is Ready, Set, Grow a fun agricultural magic show for kids of all ages with comedy, magic, and puppets. KRFO will be bringing back its own version of the classic game show Deal or No Deal Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.
KRFO Town Square is also home to The Kid’s Zone where a variety of activities, including a giant coloring mural and playground, can be enjoyed by children while adults watch their children play from the comfort of the picnic tables.
Shows Around the Fairgrounds
Home Town Credit Union and RE/MAX Venture brings Jurassic Kingdom to the fair for three shows daily Wednesday through Sunday at 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Jurassic Kingdom features life size dinosaur puppets Blue, their new dinosaur; Terry, the talking, comical Pterodactyl; Jack – their 2-month-old Brontosaurus; Sarah – their newborn Triceratops; Lucy – their 5-year-old full-grown Velociraptor; and Sparky a 2-year-old T-Rex.
The American Dairy Association and the Southwest Dairy Farmers brings the Mobile Dairy Classroom to the fair. The Mobile Dairy Classroom features a 32-foot classroom featuring a fully operational milking parlor. The classroom carries a live cow, milking equipment and highly trained instructor for the presentation.
Alexander Lumber Company brings to the fair the Robinson Carving Company. The Robinson family has been doing sculptures for the past two decades with their chainsaws. They will be doing 3 – 4 shows daily with a new sculpture being created at each show.
The All-Star Stunt Dogs Show, sponsored by Fleet Farm, Bushel Boy, Cargill, Farmer’s Feed and Pet Supply and Thrivent, is a must see show that will entertain people of all ages. From back flips, handstands, big air stunts, to amazing tricks; these dogs are thrilling the nation! Shows daily at 12, 3 and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Deml Heating and Air Conditioning and House Auto Group brings to the fair The Otter Adventure. Watch the otters as they swim, play, and provide non-stop entertainment. Shows daily at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday.
The Great Outdoors Center
The National Eagle Center will be in the Great Outdoors Center on Thursday and Saturday,
Aug. 18 and 20. The National Eagle Center of Wabasha will have representatives present to conduct presentations and information about eagles on Thursday from 12–6 p.m. and Saturday from noon - 4 p.m.
Happy Tails Pet Store will line the walls of the Great Outdoors Center with an impressive display of reptiles, such as snakes, geckos, fish and many other species.
Child I.D. Tags
Parents, daycare providers and others with young children can pick up free child ID tags at the Sheriff’s Office in the Muckle Building near Fair Square Park. In the event a child gets separated from you, the I.D. tags are invaluable in reuniting the child with their caring adult.
For the Senior Fairgoers
We love our senior citizens at the Steele County Free Fair, so much so that Thursday,
Aug. 18 is U.S. Bank Senior Day. All seniors, ages 62 and over, coming to the fair prior to noon on Thursday can park for free in the general parking lot on the ball diamonds. Shuttle service will be available from the parking lot to the west side of the fairgrounds. The Steele County Senior Citizen Volunteers of the Year, Mike and Trudy Pierce, will be recognized at 11:30 a.m. on the United Prairie Bank Stage in Fair Square Park. There will also be senior citizen discount specials at many of the vendors from noon to 5 p.m. Sponsors of Senior Day include U.S. Bank, West Hills Social Commons, Michaelson Funeral Home, Kernel Restaurant, Ecumen Brooks and Countryside, Allina Health-Owatonna Hospital, Birchwood Cottages, Amy Swain Hearing Centers, Benedictine Health System of Owatonna, North Risk Partners/ TPS Insurance, Timberdale Trace, Brick-Meger Funeral Home, Ludewig Financial Group, Mayo Health System of Owatonna and Waterville Food & Ice, Inc.
Handicap Scooters and Wheelchairs
Handicap scooters and wheelchair rentals are available by the First Aid Station in the Community Center on Elm Street starting at 10:30 a.m. daily. Please visit www.vistamobility.net or call 877-588-4782 to reserve.
Additional Fair Notes:
• The Steele County American Dairy Association brings you “Bella the Cow” near the FFA barnyard where you can try your hand at milking a cow.
• Check out the Safety Zone located just inside the Elm Street entrance to the fairgrounds. On display will be emergency vehicles from the police, sheriff, fire departments, and Mayo ambulance.
• If you need medical assistance while attending the fair, the medical station is in the Community Center across from the rabbit and poultry barn on Elm St. The Community Center also welcomes mothers and babies to take care of their needs.
• The District Two Holstein Dairy Show will be held Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the Cattle Show Arena.
• There are ATM machines located throughout the fairgrounds.
• The Central Farm Service Pedal Pull will be held on Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Leisure Lane.
• The FFA Children’s Barnyard is located on Leisure Lane, too.
• New this year is the Kid’s Rodeo on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 1:30 – 3 p.m. in the outdoor horse arena. This fun event is open to children ages 5 – 11. Registration is limited to 30 participants with a cost of $5.00 per participant. Stop in the Radel Pavilion Office on Friday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to register. The event will feature barrel racing on stick horses, roping, becoming a rodeo clown, an obstacle course and a bucket race. Thanks to the Zappa Agency for sponsoring.
• The Wells Fargo Auto Museum features convertibles from 1978 and prior years.
• The A – Z Petting Zoo sponsored by Community Bank of Owatonna and R&K Electric is always enjoyable, too.