The Waseca County Free Fair is officially underway.
The VFW Post 1642 performed a flag ceremony and a rifle salute for the opening ceremony on Wednesday evening, July 17, with the support of the American Legion Post 228 and spectators. After the flag was raised, the Star Spangled Banner was sung while people saluted and held hands over hearts.
Guests were then welcomed to the 2019 fair by multiple speakers. Veterans Services Officer Christopher Hinton shouted out the organizers and specifically pointed to the Remembering Our Fallen 9/11 tribute exhibit, which stopped at the Waseca Fair this year.
“Thank you for being here,” he said. “They do such a fabulous job here … If you haven’t been to the tribute tower, it is really amazing, you’re really going to like it.”
The VFW and the American Legion take turns on which one does the flag raising at the opening ceremony each year.
“It’s an honor,” VFW member Arlin Born said of participating in the ceremony. “ I think it’s great.”
Many spectators stopped to show respect Wednesday.
“I think it’s great when it’s quiet and the rides are quiet and they get their solutes; it’s neat,” spectator Carol Born said. “It’s an honor for them to do it.”
Once the ceremony was finished, people went back to speeding by and the quiet was gone.
There were many events that got started opening night, including music and magicians on the free stage, and animals in the barns.
Food vendors started Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. One of those vendors, Grandma D’s Kettle Corn, is celebrating its 20th year this year. The Waseca Fire Department is selling onion rings again this year; Auntie L’s Deep Fried is serving up what’s promised in its name; soft pretzels are available; even Wild West Soda is out in the food court; and many more stands offer a variety of choices.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Oz Brothers performed on the free stage, giving their rendition of the Wizard of Oz.
Carnival rides also began at 5 p.m. with a wide variety of rides from those for young kids, like the carouse,l to the Ferris Wheel to the Zipper. There was a brief delay when the rides were down for about five minutes, according to fair board member Mike Harguth, but things were straightened out quickly.
Along with carnival rides, the ever-present carnival games, requiring skill and luck to win a desired prize, littered the grounds.
Suffice to say, the Waseca County Fairgrounds were buzzing on day one.
Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey.