By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – Animal shows, professional bull riding, a country music concert and a number of hands-on events will punctuate what’s going on Friday and Saturday as the 156th Boone County Fair starts to wind down.

And an early reminder about Sunday – the nondenominational church service will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the entertainment pavilion. It will be provided by Gideon’s International.

Friday events

Friday morning is filled with animal shows, starting with the Dairy Goat, Open Class, at 8 a.m. in the Goat Show Arena. From then until 10 a.m. there will be an open sheep show, draft horse halter show, open and junior beef judging show judging, pony halter and performance classes and open and junior dairy show (colored breeds) all in their individual arenas.

Like ATVs? ATV racing (free) will take center stage for three hours, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Bleachers, next to the Grandstand.

For those who might be visiting for the first time, or who may have missed these groups earlier in the week, there will be another afternoon of musical entertainment at the Flora Avenue Stage, along with different performers strolling the grounds. Times are posted at various locations around the fairgrounds.

The entertainment pavilion will be the non-stop location for music and magic.

Looking for Treble, one of two local groups in the pavilion this afternoon will be playing from noon to 3 p.m. After an hour of Magic by Herb Rosene, another local band, Gene Shepherd, will be performing from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

This is Looking for Treble’s second year at the fair while Shepherd’s band has been performing here since 1957.

Looking for Treble has been together for six years and consists of the lead singer, Mark Sturm of Rockford; Belvidere High School graduate Kirk Leonard on the drums and Chris Manos of Rockford on bass guitar.

The band evolved from the days when Sturm played solo at Pot Belly’s restaurant on State Street in Rockford. Today, those in the group have some 90 years of musical experience.

It’s a band very familiar with Boone County, having played at Mortimer’s Roadhouse in Poplar Grove; at Jersey’s in Belvidere; and in benefits for the Belvidere/Boone County Food Pantry.

“It’s fun doing things for people,” Sturm said.

Next Level Pro Bull Riding is today’s featured entertainment at the Grandstand, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for a seat in the Grandstand; $6 to be in the Bleachers.

For those who would prefer more music Silver Creek Band will be performing in the pavilion from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is another local group, which has been on the music scene for 19 years. It features Boone County residents Ben and Deb Doetch, with four other performers.

Instruments include a fiddle, guitar, bass, drums, harmonica and mandolin. They play country, Top 40 and older tunes, along with bluegrass.

Silver Creek plays at a lot of summer festivals in a variety of locations.

Saturday is busy

For those who haven’t had enough tractor pull action the Weak End Tractor group will have a competition for antiques and garden variety vehicles starting at 8 a.m. in front of the Grandstand. This event is free.

More youth animal events will follow from 9-10 a.m. including the open sheep show, open and junior steer judging, open and junior dairy judging (Holstein) and pony performance and hitch classes, all at their individual arenas.

Registration for the talent show will be at 9:30 a.m. at the entertainment pavilion.

Then comes the actual talent show, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the pavilion. Junior contestants, up to 14 years of age, will be on stage at 9:30 a.m. with senior talent, those 15-21 years of age, competing at 12:30 p.m.

Prizes are $100 in cash for first place; $75 for second; and $50 for third. Contestants must pay the $6 admission before signing up for this show, which is sponsored by Parnell Foods.

This will be the last day the Flaming Monkeys, a Boone County 4-H robotics group of high school students; will be demonstrating their competition robot. That will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the Flora Road stage.

Saturday afternoon offers a wide variety of events starting with pony hitch classes at 1 p.m. in the Pony Arena. The Supreme Grand Dairy Champion will be selected at 2 p.m. in the Dairy Arena, followed by the fur, feather and whether auction at 3 p.m. in the Livestock Arena.

Demonstrations will be part of the afternoon schedule featuring The Karate Academy from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Celia’s Dance and Education Center, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., both in the entertainment pavilion.

Music will rule the evening once more with country star Josh Turner performing at 7 p.m. in front of the Grandstand. Seating is $18 on the Track; $15 in the Grandstand; and $10 in the Bleachers.

Rockford-based Missing Links is the alternative, performing in the entertainment pavilion from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. There is no admission charge.

This rhythm and blues and soul group has been around for a long time and bills itself as “a musical powerhouse in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin for 50 years.”

Vocalists, guitars, keyboards and drums are featured in the seven-member band. They have shared the stage with such legendary performers as Little Richard, the Four Tops, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Eric Burden and the Spinners.

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