Measuring eight feet long, it’s no wonder why so many volunteers were needed to hold up Apollo, an 8-year-old Burmese python. Kerrville, Texas resident Danny Conner brought Apollo to the Iosco County Fair in Hale last year, along with several other animals as part of his Reptile Adventures show.

HALE – The 76th annual Iosco County Fair will commence on Monday, July 27, and feature nearly a week’s worth of festivities, through Saturday, Aug. 1.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and related guidelines continuing to evolve, Iosco County Fair Board representatives note that this has presented challenges as they move forward with hosting the 2020 event. However, the fair is still a-go, and they state that they look forward to hosting the various entertainment and activities associated with the occasion.

The pandemic has resulted in a few changes this year, including the cancellation of the carnival rides and games, as well as some of the traditional demonstrations. But, a full lineup of grandstand events is still set, along with all livestock and horse shows, numerous participatory activities for  guests and free demonstrations and musical entertainment. The food court area will also be expanded, for patrons to enjoy some of their favorite carnival treats.

For the most up-to-date details, visit The website also contains a full schedule of events, registration forms/rules for various activities, contact numbers, a link to the fair’s Facebook page and more.

Board members point out that the 2020 schedule is being updated frequently, so they encourage attendees to check back from time to time for the latest information.

The fairgrounds are located ¼-mile north of the stoplight in Hale, on the east side of M-65, across from Hale Baptist Church.

The $3 gate fee will only be charged on Wednesday, July 29, and Friday, July 31. The fees for the other fair days have been covered courtesy of the Hale Assembly of God Church, Don and Cheryl McDonell, Scofield Real Estate, Wilson Trucking & Excavating and Wilson & Sons Septic Cleaning. In any case, those 11 and younger may enter at no charge.

Listed below is an itinerary of the 2020 entertainment, as of press time, according to information on the county fair website.

Monday, July 27:

The venue will open at 4 p.m. on day one of the event, with a flag dedication ceremony starting things off at the fair office building.

The opening of the commercial exhibits/outdoor vendor areas will also begin at 4 p.m., and will be available until 9 p.m.

Poultry judging is set for 4:30 p.m., as is the first rendition of the Comedy Farm Magic Review – a new event at the county fair.

This will be showcased several different times in the coming week, and the family-friendly act will bring laughs, magic, lessons on farm safety and a chance to meet “Clucky” the talking chicken at every show.

Subsequent presentations on Monday will be given at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Another new event for the 2020 celebration is the Live Shark Encounter Show, which will also go on at multiple different times throughout the week. For Monday, these will take place at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Presented by Haai, Inc., the organization’s website reads that this is the only traveling shark show in the United States.

Splicing education and entertainment, the Haai team says the attraction is self-contained where patrons can sit in comfort and enjoy the sharks swimming in their specially designed aquarium. While a diver is in the tank, an announcer will share information on the sharks and explain the actions of the diver.

As the show winds down, the audience will be invited to get a close-up view of the sharks, with Haai staff also being on hand to answer any questions.

Additional activities on July 27 include the Youth Speed Show in the horse arena at 5 p.m., followed by a raffle drawing for his and hers children’s bicycles at 6:30 p.m.

The bike giveaways will continue each day throughout the week, in the Samson Building of the fairgrounds, and participants must be present to win.

The exhibition grandstand will then be host to a free attraction on Monday, with the heavyweight draft horse pulls set for 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28:

The gates will open at 8 a.m. on day two of the Iosco County Fair, the theme of which is “Armed Forces Appreciation Day.”

To start, visitors can either take in the rabbit judging at 10 a.m., or head to the horse arena at this same time for the Exceptional Equestrians event.

The commercial exhibits and vendor stations will then be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The first Comedy Farm Magic Review of the day will begin at 12:15 p.m., with additional presentations slated for 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Also returning for multiple performances will be the Live Shark Encounter attraction, with shows set for 2 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The livestock arena will be bustling with activity, beginning with a goat show at 1 p.m. Next up will be the sheep judging, and then the market beef entries. Following a dinner break, the hog judging will commence.

A drawing for his and hers children’s bikes will be at 6:30 p.m., after which musical entertainment will be provided from 7-9 p.m.

Also beginning at 7 p.m. will be the lawn mower and go-kart races in the exhibition grandstand. Admission is $5, but there is no charge for those age 5 and under.

Wednesday, July 29:

The gates will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, for the fair’s “Senior Citizen Recognition Day.”

The non-market beef and dairy judging will start at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Jr. Pee-Wee and Pee-Wee Showmanship events in the livestock arena.

The commercial exhibits/vendors will re-open at 11 a.m., and will be available until 10 p.m.

The first Comedy Farm Magic Review will take place at 1 p.m., with performances set for 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., as well.

From 1-5 p.m., area youths will be giving VEX IQ and VEX EDR robotics demonstrations.

A scavenger hunt is also planned for the younger crowd, starting at 2 p.m. There will be two age divisions: 14-19, and those 13 and younger.

Other activities on Wednesday include CPR demonstrations and blood pressure checks by the Plainfield Township Fire Department First Responders, which will go on from 4-5 p.m. in the entertainment tent.

Live Shark Encounter Shows have also been set for 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Open Speed Horse Show will begin at 6 p.m. in the horse arena, while another drawing for children’s bicycles will take place at 6:30 p.m.

The exhibition grandstand fun for day three of the fair is the Motorhome Demo Derby & Night of Destruction event, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $8, but children 5 and younger may attend for free.

To round out the evening, music will be provided by the band Masquerade, from 7-10 p.m. in the entertainment tent.

Thursday, July 30:

For “Agricultural Day,” the fairgrounds will open at 8 a.m. and attendees are welcome to drive their tractors to the site.

Early-rising event goers will be treated to a free breakfast in the entertainment tent, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Attendees will then want to make their way to the track grandstand at 11 a.m. for the Jr. Barnyard Olympics, featuring such comical contests as bale jumping and watermelon seed spitting.

This is also where the regular Barnyard Olympics will be held, starting at 1 p.m., which will showcase hay wagon races, bale races and much more amusement.

The Cow Costume Contest Parade is another activity not to be missed, and it will kick off at 11:30 a.m. in the livestock building. Spectators can then vote for their favorite entrant between noon and 4 p.m.

Guests can also enjoy the commercial exhibits and vendors, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Comedy Farm Magic Reviews at noon, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; and a tractor parade at 3 p.m.

Demonstrations will also be put on by those from the Live Shark Encounter Show, at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Another drawing for his and hers children’s bikes is set for 4:30 p.m., after which the livestock arena will welcome guests for Cow Pie Bingo at 5 p.m.

Also starting at 5 p.m., and lasting until 7 p.m., is a root beer float social. Proceeds will go to the livestock building fund.

In keeping with the agricultural theme, the night will conclude with a livestock auction at 6 p.m.

Friday, July 31:

Friday visitors may enter the fairgrounds at 8 a.m., with the first event of the day being the Youth Pleasure Horse Show at 9 a.m. in the horse arena.

This will be the same venue for the Youth Ranch Trail Class, which is slated from 1-3 p.m.

Commercial exhibits and vendors will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Comedy Farm Magic Reviews on Friday are set for 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., while the Live Shark Encounter Shows will go on at 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Youngsters will have another shot at the bicycle drawings this evening, with the winners being announced at 6:30 p.m.

Three different events will start at 7 p.m., including music in the entertainment tent until 10 p.m., as well as the Fun Horse Show in the horse arena, which will be followed with a light parade around the track.

The exhibition grandstand event for July 31 – the Off-Road Demo Derby Bump N Run – will also begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $8, with children 5 and under allowed to attend for free.

Saturday, Aug. 1:

The Open Pleasure Horse Show will begin at 9 a.m. on the finale day of the fair – “Ag Education Day” – for which the gates will open one hour prior.

Games and contests for all ages will start at 9:30 a.m., followed shortly thereafter by the 10 a.m. opening of the commercial exhibits and vendor areas, which will be available until 9 p.m.

Participants in the annual Iosco County Fair Parade are asked to line up at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Roger’s Family Foods, located just down the road from the fairgrounds. The procession will begin at noon and follow M-65 north, through downtown Hale.

Back at the fairgrounds, event goers will have four different opportunities to catch a Comedy Farm Magic Review – 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Four presentations of the Live Shark Encounter Show are also planned, and are set for 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Agricultural education activities are slated from 1-3 p.m., and will include everything from cow milking, ice cream making and five-minute lessons on a horse, to barnyard bingo, rock painting, farm equipment displays, butter making and more.

Registration for the pedal pull will begin at 2 p.m. in the fair office, with the actual event starting at 3 p.m. from the same location.

Competition seekers can also sign up at 3:45 p.m. in the livestock arena, for the cornhole tournament that will begin at 4 p.m.

A Friends of 4-H silent auction has been arranged, as well, and this will go on from 2-4 p.m. in the entertainment tent.

Two different raffle drawings are scheduled at 6 p.m., with a quilt drawing to be held in the Dooley Building, and the final children’s bicycle raffle to take place in the Samson Building.

Registration for the talent contest will then be available at 7 p.m. in the entertainment tent, which is where the show will also be held, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The sign-up fee is $5 and the contest will be split between a 16 and under class, and a 17 and older class. The first prize is $75, second is $50 and third is $25.

The final exhibition grandstand event for the 2020 Iosco County Fair will be a pro rodeo, beginning at 7 p.m., presented by Flying Star Rodeo Productions. The cost is $8, while admission will be free for those 5 and younger.

Along with the activities noted above, chainsaw carving demonstrations will also take place on the grounds, throughout the week of the fair.