WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | The 163rd Porter County Fair kicks off today and runs through July 27 for the "best 10 days of summer," and there are a few changes to this year’s offerings.
The first change visitors may notice is the change in admission prices and times, said Kevin Hannon, Porter County Fair manager
“We have a new admission structure this year, but we wanted to make the admission as easy to understand across the board as possible. In the past there were free times that varied, so we now have admission free before noon every day, which includes the weekends. In return for that, our admission price is now $6, and children under 10 are free. We also left all of our 10-punch passes the same price,” said Hannon. Last year's admission charge was $5.
Mark Baird, president of the Porter County Fair Board, said fairgoers will be getting a huge bang for their buck.
“We try to keep it as affordable as we can," Baird said. "We have more free entertainment than almost any fair in Indiana and you get an awful lot for your admission. We think it’s a great entertainment value and we hope the community appreciates what we have to offer.”
Porter County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Larry LaFlower said officials are tightening up security at the fair this year in the wake of incidents such as the explosive device found at the LaPorte County Fair and the Boston bombings.
LaFlower said backpacks and coolers will not be allowed into the fair. Deputies will search large bags such as diaper bags before fairgoers can enter the grounds.
Free entertainment is abundant at locations around the fairgrounds, including magicians, comedians, exotic animal shows and stunt shows.
“We have a great program this year, and new this year we have a draft horse show on the first Friday night and if you haven’t seen it, it’s really a fun event. That’s one of our main additions this year and we have many traditional offerings this year. We are keepers of tradition, too,” Baird said.
Hannon said that they brought back one of their entertainers by request after they were missed last year.
“The chainsaw artists are coming back by popular demand. They weren’t here last year and that was one of our biggest requests. There are a lot of similarities to past years, but small differences,” Hannon said.
Once inside the fairgrounds, Hannon said you may notice a few changes.
“We have added more kids entertainment, and some of our free grounds entertainment will be located down by the grandstand so there will be a new look down there. We will try to develop some more shaded seating areas for people to sit down and enjoy their lunch,” he said.
Grandstand entertainment includes the sold-out Hunter Hayes show tonight, Willie and Korie Robertson from A&E's "Duck Dynasty" on Friday night, Justin Moore on Saturday night and more.