ALEDO, Ill. — Residents in Mercer County are getting ready for the county fair at the fairgrounds in Aledo.
Last year's fair, like many others, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year's fair is open from July 13 through July 17 with events scheduled all day throughout the week. You can see the full schedule here.
The Mercer County pageant starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the grandstand.
Carnival rides open at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and then are open at various times throughout the rest of the week.
All of the grandstand events are free with admission to the fair, according to fair organizers.
There are bands scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday night near the grandstand, as well.
Organizers said they have made some improvements to the fairgrounds over the past year when there wasn't a fair here, which they said will enhance the fair experience.
Among those improvements is a paved walkway and upgrades to the restrooms.
Organizers said they are excited the fair is not only back this year, but that it is a normal fair again with everything fair-goers will remember from two years ago.
"You know, it's always been near and dear to our heart but it's like a lot of things, sometimes you don't realize it until you've lost it for a year to just know how special it is, you know, just makes you appreciate it a lot more," said Rex McWhorter, the Mercer County fair board president.
4-H projects are being shown throughout the week, starting on Tuesday.
McWhorter said he's also very excited for the "night of demolition" on Wednesday and the demolition derby on Saturday night. Those are two annual favorites that are coming back this year, too, McWhorter said.