Pet a snake. Dance with a dinosaur. Catch a free concert. Eat a corndog or pronto pup. The choices for Wednesday, August 18 at the 2021 Steele County Free Fair are pretty limitless. Tuesday's opening of the fair featured big crowds and a sense of relief at being able to get together for the annual event which fell victim to the pandemic in 2020.

The new Great Outdoors Center features a variety of reptiles and insects. Fair manager Scott Kozelka got up close and personal with a seven-and-a-quarter-foot long boa constrictor. Handler Barry said they call her Steely, matching the name of the longtime fair mascot.

Roy Koenig/TSM

Fairgoers crowded around the Jurassic Kingdom show in the KRFO Townsquare. Making its debut in Steele County this year, the display features life-sized dinosaur puppets performing and posing for the fans. It is free to attend.

Roy Koenig/TSM
Roy Koenig/TSM
Roy Koenig/TSM
Roy Koenig/TSM

Hundreds of people turned their Mega Ride ticket for a wristband to ride all the rides they can throughout the fair.

Roy Koenig/TSM

The Hero Bean Bag Toss (or is it called corn hole) is new at the KRFO booth at this year's fair. Stop by at 5 pm each day through Saturday to cheer on the predetermined contestants.

Roy Koenig/TSM

4-H students are happy to put their projects on display again this year. See their efforts in the animal barns and in the 4-H Building.

Roy Koenig/TSM
Roy Koenig/TSM
Roy Koenig/TSM

These two are a true definition of the term cowboys as they play among, around, and on calves at the fair.

A few of Wednesday's highlights are below. (See the full schedule.)

  • 4-H Swine Show in the Swine Show Arena, 7:30 am
  • 4-H Horse Exhibition Show in the Radel Pavilion, 9 am
  • Shasta Kings on the United Prairie Bank (UPB) Stage, 11 am
  • Women's Nail Driving at the KRFO booth, 11 am
  • Midway opens at 12 pm
  • Tracy Mauer on the Village of Yesteryear stage, 1 pm
  • Deb Anthony on UPB stage, 1:30 pm
  • Open Class Sheep Show in Foundation Building, 2 pm
  • Peter Klug at Village stage, 3 pm
  • Hero Bean Bag Toss at KRFO booth, 5 pm
  • 4-H Beef Show at Cattle Arena, 5:30 pm
  • Nate and Virginia at Village stage, 6 pm
  • Travis Thamert in the Grandstand (free show) 6:30 pm
  • Deal or No Deal on Reseland Stage, 7 pm
  • Tim Sigler on UPB Stage, 7:30 pm
  • Jason Pritchett in the Grandstand (free show) 8 pm
  • Johnny Holm Band in the Beer Garden, 8:30 pm
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