HANCOCK - The 61st annual Houghton County Fair gets under way Thursday and organizers said this year combines traditional favorites and new attractions for kids young and old.
Kicking off the four-day long festivities, held at the Houghton County Fairgrounds in Hancock, is the opening of T.J. Schmidt & Company carnival rides at 3 p.m.
"This year's theme is Color Our World," Houghton County Fair Office Manager Carol Saari said. "So we'll see how people run with that."
David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette
The midway of the Houghton County Fairgrounds is seen in this file photo. This year’s Houghton County Fair runs Thursday through Sunday in Hancock.
Among the new attractions this year, Saari said, are Barnyard Express and Wild World of Animals.
Barnyard Express is a mobile educational farm center featuring a miniature horse, calf, sheep, goat, pig and of course, Farmer John Forshee's dog "Smudge."
The Wild World of Animals features Grant Kemmerer along with his variety of exotic animals. Recognized as one of the "best shows in wildlife entertainment," Kemmerer delivers "non-stop laughter" while the audience learns fascinating animal facts.
Both animal acts will be featuring three shows daily.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday is the Miss Houghton County Fair pageant on the indoor stage.
Michigan Technological University's Mind Trekkers will explore the mysteries of science during its program from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the ballfield.
Also returning for another season are the monster trucks, motocross races, off-road derby and the demolition derby, all of which take place in the outdoor arena.
"We've got some really nice prize money for the demolition derby," Saari said.
Always a hit is the Junior Market Livestock Auction, which takes place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the livestock pavilion.
The "Make and Take" craft workshop by the Houghton-Keweenaw 4-H has a new time this year. The workshops will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 4 to 6 p.m. Friday in the green exhibit building.
Agnes Ahola, co-chair for the Make and Take program, said the workshops are free and open to all ages.
"Some of the projects will include hemmili, woodburning, weaving, painting, beading and more," she said. "They can go from one to another in that two-hour period if they're quick with their hands."
For a complete schedule of events and times, visit the Houghton County Fair website at houghtoncountyfair.com.