This year's Ford County Fair, running June 19-25, features concerts, action, and events for family members of all ages.
The week's events start on Sunday with the western horse show at 10 a.m. Ten girls compete for the title of Miss Ford County in the annual pageant that begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 20.
Contestants include Emily Komnick, Clarence; Karley Bridgwater and Maddie Francis, Gibson City; Leslie Lawson, Ludlow; Audrey Bloomquist, Amanda Diesburg, Liz Griffin, Karla Rodriquez and Courtney-Ann Schwing, Paxton; and Chelsea Price, Roberts.
The biggest event of the week is the Canaan Smith and LOCASH concert on Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m.. This is the first time the concert will be held on a Friday night in hopes of drawing an even larger crowd. Concert tickets include free carnival rides.
Zach Linley and the Rebel Daredevils provide a pre-concert party at 7 p.m. and will play in the beer tent after the concert. Concert tickets can be ordered by going to the concert ticket link on the fair's website, fordcountyfair.org.
Old favorites are also featured at this year's fair. The Little Miss and Mister Pageant starts at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21. C-Bar rodeo will also be back at the fair on Tuesday, with the annual talent show scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 7 p.m. This year's fair will also include truck and tractor pulls on Thursday, June 23. The demolition derby closes out the grandstand entertainment on Saturday, June 25. This year's demo again features a modified wire class with a $3,000 payout.
Outshyne will play in the beer tent after the demo derby on Saturday. Outshyne has opened for several country acts including Jake Owen, Eric Church and Lee Brice.
Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians with Al Pierson will make a return to the fair on Saturday. The popular dance band has appeared at the fair for over 30 years.
The petting zoo also returns this year and will be housed in the commercial building. The zoo will again offer pony rides and will be open Monday through Saturday.
Swyear Amusements will open their rides on the midway Tuesday at 5 p.m. Several ride specials will run during the week including $1 ride night on Tuesday and $20 armband specials on Wednesday and Thursday nights. A special armband price of $10 will be available on Saturday from 1-5 p.m.
Sally the Clown returns on Friday evening, June 24 with face painting from 3-9 p.m.
Iroquois & Kankakee County hosting relays this weekend
The Iroquois County Relay for Life welcomes the public to Watseka High School's Blake Field Friday evening. The opening ceremony is at 6 pm. The annual event benefits the American Cancer Society.
94.1 WGFA will broadcast 'live" at 5:30 pm to help kickoff the event, which will include more than two-dozen relay teams and their sponsors. The event runs until 2 am.
Inclement weather would move the event inside the high school gymnasium.
The Kankakee County Relay event will take place again this Saturday at Bishop McNamara Catholic High School in Kankakee. The goal is to raise $403,000 to support local American Cancer Society programs.
Coordinator Areca Van Mill encourages everyone to participate. "You don't have to have a team. Anyone can come," she said.
The annual events features a walk, entertainment, information sessions about cancer and a luminara display in remembrance of those the disease has claimed.
Survivors are recognized as special guests at the events.
Luminaria displays, which start about 9 pm at both events, are considered the most appropriate place to share stories of people who battled cancer.
"A lot of people come to remember someone who's passed away or to support someone who's going through it," Van Mill said. "That's where the stories are told about their journey."
Van Mill said "so many people play such an important role in this every year."
Unit #9 Board hires new principals, Shay and Short onboard
Carolyn Short and Kyle Shay join the Watseka Unit Nine school district as new building principals. Both were approved today (Thursday) at a SPECIAL Board of Education meeting.
Carolyn Short received a two-year contract as principal of Watseka High School. Mrs. Short comes to Unit #9 from Beecher, where she's currently serving as Assistant dean of Students and Science Teacher at the high school. She previously served as a junior high science teacher at Beecher Junior High School.
Kyle Shay will serve as Assistant Principal at Glenn Raymond School. The board approved a one-year contract. Shay comes to Unit #9 from Marshall, IL where he's been a P.E. teacher the past eight years.
An Essex family escaped from their burning home (Thursday) morning. Smoke detectors alerted the family at 2:45 am. Three people fled the house on Prairie Drive. The family's dog died in the fire.
Firemen found an attached garage to the bi-level home engulfed in flames when they arrived. The fire department reported heavy damage to the wall between the garage and house. The cause and a dollar amount on damage wasn't available.
Herscher, South Wilmington, Salina and Reddick fire departments and Riverside Ambulance assisted.
A structure fire in Pembroke Township (Wednesday) alerted several area departments, including St. Anne, Momence, Beaverville, Papineau and Aroma Park.
No injury was reported. Details haven't been available. The call directed responders to 6000S and 17000E in Kankakee County.