By SANDY HULL
Chronicle Assistant Editor
    Can you believe it is almost time for the 2011 Henry County Fair!
    This year will mark the 152nd Henry County Fair set Tuesday, June 21, through Sunday, June 26, in Cambridge.
    As the fair quickly approaches, board members have been working hard on all of the preparations, from organizing the office and paperwork, to mowing and repairing the grounds.
    “There are hundreds of things left to be done,” said Jake Young, president of the Henry County Fair Board. “We have been working hard, but the list of projects never seem to end.”
    Young said putting on a county fair takes a lot of man hours and is almost a year-round job.
    “The board works hard to make sure the fair-goers have a fair to attend and plenty of activities to participate in,” he continued. “The county-wide fair has something for everyone.”
    The fair relies on volunteers to succeed.
    “We need volunteers to help whenever and wherever they can,” said Young. “No person is too young or old, too tall or short, but it does take a big heart to be a volunteer and we thank all past, present and future volunteers.”
    Anyone wishing to volunteer any amount of time should call the fair office at (309) 937-3391.
    Fair board members are currently working on fixing and replacing fence, along with many other updates and yearly maintenance issues.
    “It will take some time and money to really do a good ‘facelift’ to the fairgrounds, but we are trying to do the best job we can with the funds we have,” he said. “The fair, along with many others, have become accustomed to budgeting money from the state into their finances. The money from the state, as we all know can no longer be expected. With the drastic drop of rehab percentages to county fairs, some became stuck between a rock and a hard place. However, even though we (the Henry County Fair Association) are paying off fair debts from a few years ago, we have kept up on our monthly bills and are doing ok. This has not put us in the clear yet though. We are trying everything we can to help out the situation. The board has evaluated every department and made some changes to them.”
    Things are looking up for the Henry County Fair with the addition of the Hogg Country Concert this year.
    “We hope to expand and keep the concert in the schedule in the upcoming years provided the concert goes over well this year,” Young said. “Maybe we can even get a bigger name celebrity.”
    Several kids activities are planned throughout the week in the midway activity tent and children will also have the opportunity to play in the corn at the Michlig exhibit. “Magic Matt will also be on the grounds at different times throughout the week.
    There are grandstand shows planned every day.
    The Little Princess Pageant, Jr. Miss Henry County and Miss Henry County Fair Queen Pageants are set in the grandstand on Tuesday evening.
    Wednesday’s grandstand shows include a cowboy 1/4 mile horse race and a draft horse pull with calcutta.
    The grandstand shows for Thursday include a rodeo by Latting and pony express race.
    Nashville Singer Kim Anthony will perform on Friday. Local talent will proceed him including Missy Vail, Michelle VanOpdorp and Amanda Mines.
    Grandstand activities on Saturday include, ATV drags, car soccer and a demo derby. A school bus derby will be held in conjunction with the regular derby.
    A “Hogg Country” Barn Dance will follow in the old Exhibitor’s Hall, south of the Merchants building.
    The fair will conclude on Sunday with a tractor show and Illini Tractor and Truck Pull.
    “I have always loved going to the county fair,” said Young. “It seemed to be a mini-vacation during the summer. The best part was that it was practically in my backyard. I also loved showing livestock and talking to families who wanted to pet my horse or see my cattle I had in the barns. The fair wasn’t only a mini-vacation for me, but a chance to inform and educate people about what they had in their backyard. I guess my love for the fair is what motivated me to take the position as president. I want to have the Henry County Fair for my children to enjoy.”
    Young said he can’t tell the future or foresee how the fair will do this year, but he does know that if everyone comes out and enjoys the fair, it will help the fair continue to become bigger and better.
    For more information about the fair, contact the fair office at (309) 937-3391 or visit their Web site at www.henrycountyfairil.com.