The DeKalb County Free Fall Fair promises no shortage of fun Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds, 708 S. Union St., Auburn, Ind.
Activities include a carnival, live entertainment, 4-H exhibits and activities, a parade, pageants, a 5K run and more.
“And there is the food – so many options to choose from!” says Eric Rowe, president of the DeKalb County Executive Fair Board.
“There is no admission fee to attend the street fair, livestock events or the concerts,” he continues. “Some parking lots do charge $5 per entry or $20 for the week, and there will be daily specials on ride tickets.”
While there’s plenty for kids to do at the DeKalb County Fair, from carnival rides and games to delighting in a petting zoo, there’s no doubt that adults can find entertainment as well.
“We have a great line-up of free entertainment at our Main Stage,” Rowe says.
The Main Stage schedule is as follows:
Monday: Miss DeKalb County Queen Pageant, 8 p.m.
Tuesday: High School Show Choir Contest, 8 p.m.
Wednesday: Larry Fleet with Megan Moroney and Side Piece, 7 p.m.
Thursday: Arena Rock Show with REkT, 7 p.m.
Friday: Set The Hook with Crush, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Little Texas with The Band Cheyenne, 6:30 p.m.
Adults may also enjoy horse shows and other 4-H entertainment throughout the week.
“The Horse Arena will host a variety of equine events Monday through Friday, with a Garden Tractor Pull on Saturday at 6 p.m.,” Rowe says. “The Garden Tractors are really something to see, and we are expecting even more competitors than last year.
“We also have a fantastic display of animals in our Livestock Barns and some very competitive 4-H shows,” Rowe continues. “Don’t miss the 4-H displays on the fairgrounds!”
There’s also the merchant’s tent, which covers six city blocks, or more than 45,000 square feet under one roof. Fairgoers can meander amongst more than 200 vendors with exhibits that vary from lawn and garden equipment, beauty products, apparel, health products, RV’s, ATV’s, civic organizations and more. Some vendors have been known to give away free gifts on Saturday night at the end of the festivities.
“The merchant’s tent is a long-standing tradition at the fair and will be full of local vendors,” Rowe adds. “Middaugh Hall will host ‘Made in DeKalb,’ displaying local manufacturing companies.”
While the fair offers ample fun during the day, nighttime is when the fair truly comes alive. Most of the time, Auburn is a quiet city. But for one week of the year, this little town transforms into a fantasy world with delightful sights and sounds, particularly due to the carnival.
“Our street carnival is one of our most popular events with a huge variety of rides and games,” Rowe says.
Also, come rain or shine, thousands faithfully show up every year on Saturday morning to watch the parade. Expect horses, fire trucks, floats and bands to “wow” the crowd, starting at 10 a.m.
For 85 years, Auburn neighbors and volunteers have put on the fair. In fact, it’s on record as one of the longest-running street fairs in the country. And while this is the 85th anniversary of the Free Fall Fair, there’s been a continuous fair in DeKalb County since 1906.
“We have an outstanding fair board of directors, some with 20-plus years of service,” Rowe says. “They’re very diverse in age, experience and focus. And the fair would not be possible without volunteers providing support to all areas of the fair – event management, parking, entertainment, parades – and local government officials who work with us to close the roads, support our utility needs and protect our fairgoers.”
Rowe also credits 4-H program staff and 4-H families who attend various livestock events, a partnership with Poor Jacks Amusements and all the concessionaires who attend the fair, and of course, attendees who support the fair. Without this array of people, the fair wouldn’t be the spectacle it is today.
“We used to use the tagline, ‘America’s Family Reunion!’ and truly, it is,” Rowe adds. “We all gather to catch up with friends and neighbors around the Courthouse Square.”
Most people look forward to the fair for weeks, and many who live in town never miss a day, Rowe says. And, due to the love and dedication of people in DeKalb County, it’s no doubt this event will continue to delight young and old generations for many years to come.
“We are excited to welcome everyone to the 2022 DeKalb County Fair,” Rowe says. “We expect it to be a great week and look forward to seeing everyone.”
Visit dekalbcountyfair.org for a full schedule of activities/entertainment and more information on carnival ticket specials.