SAUK CENTRE (WJON News) -- Fairgoers to the Stearns County Fair will notice a number of changes to the grounds this year.

The beer garden building is gone with the American Legion beer garden now in the former senior citizens building which has been renamed the activity center building.

Fair President Tom Schmitz says the spot where the beer garden used to sit is now where you'll find the heritage stage.

We took the heritage stage which is the stage that was on the west side of our fairgrounds and we moved the stage to the cement platform and faced it towards the activity center, so now the live music is a little bit closer to the beer garden.

Schmitz says the midway is expanding onto the area where the heritage stage used to be, which will allow them to bring in a rollercoaster to this year's fair.

They also built the first new building on the grounds in 30 years, which is the new home to the poultry and rabbit barn. Schmitz says the aging poultry barn had some damage from a wind storm in May of 2022.

It was in dire need of being replaced. It was at the time the oldest building on the fairgrounds, well over 90 years old. It really wasn't set up for poultry, back in the day it used to be the draft horse barn.  The rabbit barn was sitting in that same area.  In order to make a nice size building work the rabbit barn and the poultry barn both came down and we put up a new building.

Schmitz says the Stearns County Commissioners authorized quite a bit of the funds for the new building, along with some grant money.

You'll also find a new ticket stand which has also been moved to a new location in an effort to relieve backups of people waiting to get into the grandstand for shows.

Two new grandstand shows at the Stearns County Fair this year are All-Star Wrestling on Wednesday night and Auto Cross on Sunday afternoon.

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Stearns is still the only county in Minnesota with three demolition derbies (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

It is free to attend the Stearns County Fair, but there is a fee for parking.

The 121st annual Stearns County Fair in Sauk Centre starts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, July 30th.



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