The 71st annual Georgetown Fair is nearly here and organizers have planned a week that continues to be full of affordable, local family fun.

The fair board is making the fair even more affordable this year with low prices at the gate, free showcase entertainment on the grounds every day and discounted advance tickets for select grandstand events and the carnival.

“Things in Vermilion County economically are not good right now, they’re not good anywhere,” Judy Greer, one of the fair directors, said. “We kept that in mind when we planned this fair. That has been a real conscious effort to make it very affordable for families to come to our fair. That is utmost in our minds.”

Greer said the fair has a long-standing, close relationship with the carnival that comes and they are pleased to be able to offer advance ride tickets ahead of the fair start date for an $8 savings. The cost is $15 for 25 tickets.

Also, there are special bracelet nights and a buddy-night sponsored by D102, KROCK and WDAN on Aug. 5.

This year’s fair runs from exhibit entry day on Friday through Aug. 8.

Elsewhere on the fairgrounds, the petting zoo has been brought back once again, which is a free attraction for all. Livestock shows and animals in the barns are always available for viewing, as well.

Other free entertainment at the fair includes nightly showcasing in the food building, ranging from a big band dance with a live band to karaoke contests and bingo.

Grandstand events will occur every evening, beginning Saturday with a barnyard tractor pull. A church service, queen pageant, talent contest, ITPA truck and tractor pull, motocross racing and demolition derby will keep the grandstands full through-out the week.

One of the most popular grandstand events is the music concert. This year The Classics IV, a 1960s and ‘70s singing group, will perform on Aug. 6. Some of their most popular songs were “Everyday with You Girl,” “Stormy” and “Traces.”

“They’re just an excellent group,” Greer said. “This offers something different musically, which we try to offer every year.”

Greer said tickets during fair week for The Classics IV concert will be $7, but if bought in advance at Cahill’s or MB Music in Danville or at Knight Insurance in Georgetown, they’re just $5.

“That can get people top-notch entertainment at only a $5 cost,” Greer said.

The theme for this year is “Team Spirit in the Air at the 2009 Georgetown Fair.” This theme will be taken through the exhibition buildings with decorations, something that has won the fair at least three international awards.

Areas will be decorated in the themes of the Illini, Cubs, Cardinals, NASCAR, Georgetown-Ridge Farm Buffaloes and youth sports.

“We have people who come to the fair just to see how our ladies have decorated,” said Kay Sprouls, a fair director and assistant superintendent for the home economics building.

Kay and Mac Sprouls were selected this year as the Phil Hummel Memorial Award recipients, a recognition given yearly to a fair volunteer.

“We’re honored,” Kay said. “That’s a special award. We knew Phil and it’s just an honor when they pick you for an award at the fair.

Sprouls said her favorite time at the fair is home economic and agriculture entry day, which will occur from 3-8 p.m. Friday.

“It’s fun to see them bringing in all their baked goods and crafts and how they’ve worked hard to get everything ready,” Sprouls said.

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