HANCOCK - From lumberjack shows and juggling unicyclists to car-crushing monster trucks and extreme freestyle motocross, there's something for everyone at the 57th annual Houghton County Fair.
Held Aug. 21 through 24 at the Houghton County Fairgrounds in Hancock, this year's entertainment lineup features familiar acts and some new ones, Houghton County Fair Association President Bonnie Decaire-Jones said, such as the appearance of the Chicago-based Honey Bear Dancers and the IGX Adrenaline Jam attraction.
The Chicago Honey Bear Dancers is a professional full production variety song and dance show performed by a group of talented females. The group has performed worldwide at a number of venues, as well as made appearances on "American Idol," "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Beauty & the Geek."
The 2008 Houghton County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 21 through 24 and features both new and returning acts. Above, the Great Lakes Timber Show during a log rolling performance.
"They're very athletic," DeCaireJones said. "They will be performing five shows between Friday and Saturday."
The dancers will also offer a one-time performing arts workshop for youth at 11 a.m. Saturday. There is no cost to participate.
Video game enthusiasts will enjoy the high-energy IGX Adrenaline Jam attraction that will be set up in the indoor arena. The attraction is free to all ticketed visitors and includes the newest generation of game platforms, providing players a more interactive experience. The portable gaming equipment includes a Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3, Xbox 360, PlayStation2, the original Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube. Additional equipment includes ezVision video glasses, Guitar Hero and EyeToy 2, two of Sony's most popular interactive games, among others.
"There will be 19 monitors set up," co-office manager Carol Saari said of the entertainment system. "Teens should really enjoy this."
The Great Lakes Timber Show, sponsored by the Plum Creek Foundation, will put on three shows daily on the midway featuring chainsaw carving, axe throwing, wood chopping, one- and two-man crosscut sawing, modified chainsawing and log rolling complete with family friendly humor.
Locals Jason Katalino and Bob Evans will take the entertainment up on one wheel with their unicycle/juggling acts. They will be performing stage shows and roving entertainment during the four-day fair.
In addition to Schmidt Amusements, traditional Houghton County Fair events such as the queen competition, motocross races, livestock shows, horseshoe pitching, demolition derby, off-road derby and monster truck show will be held during the fair, DeCaire-Jones said, and multiple exhibit buildings will be open for visitors to view the animals, arts and crafts and other items on display.
"There's just something for everybody," she said. "From animals to electronics; horseshoes to tractor pulls; and music to carnival rides. There is so much going on. Every year it gets bigger. The best thing you can do is buy a four-day pass and try everything."
During the monster truck show Saturday in the Main Event Arena, Michigan native Scott Murray, of Sick Air FMX, will dazzle the crowd with his extreme freestyle motocross moves.
Lindsay Maki, Mike Urbis, Danny Becia, Tom Katalin and the Panhandlers will be performing on the indoor stage during the fair. The Old Time Variety Music and a Youth Talent Show will also take place on stage in the arena.
"Senior citizens will have a special time at the fair from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, with lunch, entertainment, prize drawings, cake and coffee," Saari said. "The people mover will be up and running to transport visitors from the parking lot to the gates, and more black top has been put in by the side entrance to the ice arena to make it more accessible. "
More than 50 commercial booths will be set up between the indoor arena and the outdoor fair grounds, and traditional carnival fare will be served by a number of vendors along the midway.
Saari reported that there were 235 volunteers who worked more than 4,000 hours to make the 2007 fair happen. "We have directors, superintendents, clerks and judges, announcers, and other helpers everywhere," she said.
DeCaire-Jones credits two additional key individuals who help to make the Houghton County Fair a success.
"If it weren't for our two office ladies, Carol and Lynn, things wouldn't go so smoothly. Between the two of them, they are so organized, they make things look easy," she said. "We also appreciate the sponsors that help us financially, especially since some of our funding that we depend on has been cut by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. We have loyal sponsors that help us year after year, and we have some new ones come on board every year. They help make the fair affordable for our families and we really appreciate that."
Ticket prices are as follows: four-day passes for adults (16 and over) $15; youth (8-15) $10. Daily gate fees are as follows: Thursday, Friday, Sunday $5; Saturday for adults $7; Saturday for youth $5. Those 7 and under are free. One-day family passes (two adults and four children) are $20. Pre-fair prices are available. A brochure with the full schedule of events has been inserted into today's paper.
For more information, call the Houghton County Fair office at 482-6200 or visit www.houghtoncountyfair.com
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by the Houghton County Fair Association of Hancock. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.