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Porter County Fair will feature 82 acres of fun, food and entertainment beginning Thursday

VALPARAISO — “We have a lot of things packed into 82 acres,” said Kevin Hannon, manager of the Porter County Fair, in describing the wide range of events and activities at the fair that opens Thursday and runs through July 29 on the fairgrounds adjacent to the Porter County Expo Center.

The 2017 fair features new programming, including educational displays and a school bus figure 8 derby in the grandstand.

“It should be interesting,” Hannon said of the eight-bus derby.

Live entertainment is another big part of this fair.

Hannon expects a sell-out for the Toby Keith concert July 21. Coming to the grandstand to open the fair is the country group Old Dominion. Contemporary Christian artist Matt Maher will headline the grandstand entertainment July 22.

Other grandstand activities include demolition derbies, bull riding, mud and dirt drags, a horse pull and tractor-truck pull.

While most of the grandstand entertainment charges admission, the fair does offer free activities. This includes racing ducks, a family circus, martial arts demonstration, cutest baby competition, magic show, church sing-along, fair queen pageant and a comedy wild west show.

In his seventh year as fair manager, Hannon attributed the fair’s popularity to the people who attend.

“It’s just a place where you see the people you see at the fair every year,” he said.

An elementary physical education teacher in Knox, Hannon was in 4-H for 10 years.

“At the fair, I see people I knew through 4-H, and their kids are now in 4-H,” he said.

This year’s fair 4-H animal events include dog obedience and showmanship, small animals judging, rabbits, draft horses, sheep, cats, swine, beef, lamb, and pigeons and poultry.

After 10 years in 4-H, MiKayla Duzan, of Morgan Township, is marking her first summer away from the group. Helping in the livestock show arena, Duzan said she appreciated “how the community came together and

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