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Fairgrounds are rarin' to go in Barnum

The Carlton County Fair is galloping our way, with opening day on Thursday, Aug. 17. While the fairgrounds in Barnum are still quite empty, work is being done to make improvements, including concrete work in the dairy barn, a few improved sidewalks and updates to the Little Italy building. Amid interviews with prospective fair workers and other preparations this week, fair manager Lindsey Larson made time to answer some questions about the upcoming 132nd Carlton County Fair, themed "The Best We Can Be in 2023."

Q Who is the fair's target audience?

A We like to cater to everyone. We try our hardest. The Outstanding Senior Program is on Friday along with the Century farmer award. We try to have a teen dance on Saturday night. We really try to get everyone, you know. People who are interested in tractors and animals and the petting zoo, and then grandstands events are a wide variety between racing and horse racing track, the bus [races], hopefully that'll bring in kids, that's always fun.

Q What are a couple of the highlights of the fair this year?

A Well, our biggest highlights every year is obviously having the 4-H and livestock in the barns. Our horse racing, too. If I remember correctly, we're the only ones in the state of Minnesota that still do that at the fair. And this will be the 131st horse races. Then the entertainment varies every year. A big thing this year is the sea lion show; they'll be doing shows each day and then they'll be on display too. We're going to keep the bus races again this year.

Q What does the food truck lineup look like?

A A little bit of new food. We have a lefse person, another fried one with baked potatoes. A smoker, barbecue style one. And then a Mexican one that's going to cater to gluten-free. There should be plenty of food options.

Q Do you have a favorite fair food?

A I don't, because I like a lot of it. You've gotta have a cheese curd, a corndog. And you've got to have some Italian when you get sick of the fried stuff and then a pulled pork sandwich or burger from the Bombers. You gotta have it all.

Q Can you tell me a little about the RC Racecars?

A Yes, they are coming in and you stand at a podium and they're 1/10 size cars. It's $5 for two races. And you can race a car, there's six cars. So six podiums, and they'll set up a track and you can race the cars around the track. That'll be in the Sample building next to the train.

Q Do you have any tips for making parking a smoother experience?

A The far gate down [to the south] is general admission because the middle one is handicap, and then we get a lot of foot traffic coming in this one [on the northwest corner]. The back one seems to be the best option, and our shuttles are always running to bring you up to the grounds.

Find the full fair schedule here: https://carltoncountyfairmn.com/files/2023/07/Final-Schedule.pdf

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