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It’s That Time Again: Mercer County Fair & Horse Show Starts July 21

The 191st Whitaker Bank Mercer County Fair and Horse Show begins Saturday, July 21, with the dairy show. The midway opens to the public on Monday, July 23, at 6 p.m.

Jennifer Marsh

Preparations for the 191st Whitaker Bank-Mercer County Fair and Horse Show are winding down and it’s nearly go time. The pageants have been scheduled and the carnival rides have been prepared and the fun will begin on Saturday, July 21.

“We try to do a little bit for everyone,” said Dr. LeMayne Ellis, president of the Mercer County Fair board. “We have the oldest fair and horse show in the country. We are very proud to keep it going.”

The fair has a lot of moving pieces to coordinate. In addition to the horse show, there are the rides, the food, the floral hall, the demolition derbies, the livestock competitions and the pageants, which are one of the oldest traditions at the fair.

“The Miss Mercer pageant is the oldest pageant in the state,” said Pageant Coordinator Myra McCrystal, who also serves on the fair board. “We have been going for over 50 years.”

The pageants cover all ages, from Tiny Miss and Mister all the way to Mrs. Mercer County.

“There is no pageant similar to ours, we give more scholarships and prizes than most and our setting is unique,” said McCrystal. “Our directors strive to make it not just about beauty. We teach confidence.”

The pageants will open in the center ring at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 23. The livestock competitions begin Saturday, July 21, with the dairy show in the livestock arena starting at 10 a.m.

Early registration for the floral hall is on Sunday, July 22, starting from 4 to 6 p.m. From 7:30 a.m. to noon on the following Monday, exhibitors can bring in their entries to the floral hall, which opens at 5 p.m. every evening starting Monday, July 23.

The midway opens every night through Saturday at 6 p.m. starting Monday, July 23. The first three pageants also start at 6 p.m. with Miss Teen, presented by Farmers National Bank, leading the way, followed by Mrs. Mercer County Fair and Miss Mercer County Fair, both presented by Whitaker Bank

On Tuesday, July 24, the Tiny Miss and Mister pageant begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Miss Pre-teen at 8 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Little Miss and Mister pageant begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the sheep show at 6:30 p.m. and the horse show at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, you can get your motor running at the KOI dirt drag at 7 p.m. The drag race is sponsored by JVM Motorsports. The horse show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 27, is day one of the demolition derby sponsored by Farmers National Bank. The heavy metal thunder starts at 8 p.m. The horse show starts at 6:30 p.m. in the center ring.

In addition to the second day of the demolition derby, Saturday is all about livestock contests, with the Academy Horse Show in the center ring and the swine show starting at 9 a.m. in the livestock arena. That’s followed by the open youth poultry and rabbit show at noon, the goat show at 1 p.m. and horse show at 6:30 p.m.

The midway closes at midnight on Saturday. While the fair itself closes with the open beef show on Monday, July 30, at 6 p.m. For a full schedule of events, visit

For more information, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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