Arts & Entertainment

Hunterdon County 4-H Fair Begins Wednesday

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Its front wheels raise off the ground as this farmer and his tractor struggle to pull the weighted machine down the track at last year's Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair. Credits: Terry Wright
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EAST AMWELL TWP. — The 17th annual Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair opens Wednesday, Aug. 24th, with a full schedule of activities Through Aug. 28th.

More than 50 acts, activities, bands and groups will appear on the Main Stage and several dozen shows and contests, most for 4-H members and some for adults, too. Dairy cows, beef cows, sheep, horses, goats, alpacas, llamas, dog, rabbits and all sorts of poultry will be exhibited.

The fair, successor to the Flemington Fair, is held at the South County Park on Route 179, once site of the Ringoes Drive-In movie theater. Besides regional performers, plenty of local talent will entertain at the fair.

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In tribute to the decades of auto racing at Flemington, the Flemington Speedway Historical Society will again have its display of old race cars and memorabilia all week, and on Sunday afternoon a program featuring retired racers and some of their cars.

"Tractor Dave" Bond, a Delaware Township farmer, and his Real Country band take the stage Thursday night at 8. This group, usually the most popular at the fair, follows the 5:30 show of Citizens Band Radio, a country rock group from Woodglen in the northern tip of Hunterdon.

Another attraction is “4-H Live on Stage," in which members of various 4-H clubs show or tell something related to their projects. The presentations will take place at various times during the fair. And each day’s Main Stage schedule includes “Hunterdon’s Got Talent,” which gives a platform to local performers to show their skills.

Fair Opening Ceremonies start Wednesday around 4 p.m., starting with the county’s program to award medals to military veterans for their service in times of war. The 4-H Parade of Clubs, speakers and presentations, follow. At 7:30 p.m. there’s "Movie Night with Dr. D," including a "Name That Tune" contest, trivia, prizes and the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark” at dusk.

That’s right after the Unity Bank’s “Blizzard of Dollars” in which somebody chosen from the audience stands in an enclosed booth filled with cash in various denominations, blown around by a fan, and gets to pick up (and keep) as much as possible in a minute.

Wednesday’s schedule includes the day-time tractor pull for farm tractors and another one in the evening, with classes for tractors that have been modified as well as a pulling contest for pickup trucks. The Wednesday night contest has a $5 per person spectator charge; all the fair’s other events, shows and activities have no charge. The only cost to enter is $10 per vehicle for parking, shared with area fire companies which supervise the parking fields.

A garden tractor pull is set for Saturday morning and a pedal tractor pull for kids on Sunday afternoon, with the fair providing the tractor for it.

Sunday afternoon will have also feature two Main Stage acts: Tino’s Hawaiian Entertainment Extravaganza and the Mariachi Nuevo Mexico Passions and Traditions show. The Hawaiian group includes hula dancers, drummers and fire dancers, “a spectacular show, it’s very different, gives us a different feel on the Stage,” said Dan Torrone of Clinton, a former 4-H member who is in charge of the fair’s Main Stage.

Similarly, the Mexican group puts on a genuine Mariachi act, dressed in authentic garb, and is very rare in this region, he noted. It brings something never before offered at the fair.

The biggest entertainment on Friday will be the fireworks show, starting around 9 p.m. Earlier, the Bell-Tones, a female vocal trio featuring songs from the 1950s and 60s, will perform and then comes Mahoney Brothers “Juke Box Heroes” show. They’re a musical impersonation group, featuring the songs and mannerisms of Neal Diamond, Elvis, Elton John, Willie Nelson and others.

Saturday's Main Stage schedule is also packed, with various musical acts leading up to the Stone Hearth Band, a bluegrass group, at 6. The Polish American String Band, a Philadelphia tradition formed in 1933, is the night’s featured attraction at 8. Winner of numerous prizes in the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade, the group will be in full regalia.

The fairgrounds is at 1207 Route 179 near the Route 202 intersection, use Lambertville for GPS directions. Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Saturday, and closing at 5 p.m. on the final day. For more information and a complete list of Main Stage activities as well as details on other shows, contests and events, go to its new website at HunterdonCountyFair.com

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