The Jefferson County Fair is returning for another year.

Operating under the theme of “Red, White and Blue, This Fair’s for You,” the 2017 Jefferson County Fair will focus on popular events from past fairs while looking to the future.

The fair will run at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Fairbury this Thursday through Sunday and will feature the classic rodeos, concerts and dances. There will also be a chance to try out some cutting edge of technology.

The adventurous can strap on a virtual reality helmet and dive into cyber-combat at “The Tactical Experience.” Kids can get their hands on some neat tech stuff, too, thanks to Educational Service Unit 5.

“On Saturday afternoon, the ESU is bringing a mini-planetarium, some drones and some robotics stuff,” said Darci Pesek, Nebraska extension educator. “The kids will get a chance to do some programming and they'll get to fly the drones if it's not too windy that day.”

There will be two rodeos this year on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. These rodeos will feature bull and bronco riding, barrel racing and other favorites. Before each rodeo, there will be a mutton busting event where kids get a chance to ride sheep around the ring. Kids can register for mutton busting at 6 p.m. for $10.

On Friday night, the rodeo dance begins at 8 p.m. and will feature the Caleb Bradley Band, as well as a beer garden. Entrance to the rodeo and dance are free, Pesek said, but those 21 and older will need pay for their beer.

Saturday night’s dance will also be free, featuring the Past Masters playing hits from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The Miss Jefferson County competition has been around for more than a decade, however, this year’s contest also features a pageant. The contestants in the scholarship competition will compete on stage on Thursday in the 4-H building in evening gown and question portions, and there’s an optional talent competition, which, while not part of the scholarship award, it does come with a cash prize.

Rides and games will be available all weekend, as will the Kids Fun Activity Zone, which will be full of outdoor activities, Pesek said.

Thursday also features the teen dance at 9 p.m., a Christian celebration called Ingathering at 7 p.m. and the 4-H baked goods auction at 6:30 p.m.

On Friday, there will be a prime rib sandwich supper and a free watermelon feed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday kicks off with the Swing, Swing, Swing band and dance exhibition at 1 p.m., followed by the farm Olympics at 5 p.m. and Cake Wars—a cake decoration competition for professionals and amateurs alike—at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday closes out the fair with an antique tractor show from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., a 4-H Windsor loin dinner at 11:30 a.m., a local talent show at 1 p.m., tug-of-war in the mud at 2:30 p.m., a performance by the Fairbury Community Band at 3 p.m., the Great Jefferson County Duck Float also at 3 p.m., with an egg Russian roulette contest at 3:30 p.m. and Jayhusker Racing starting at 6 p.m.

Admission to the fair and rodeo are free, though some activities, like the virtual reality, will cost extra.

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