The 158th annual Bureau County Fair had a successful run. Thursday morning’s rain helped settle the dust, and the rest of the week was hot and dry. Large crowds filled the grounds, and they flocked to see the bear mountain show, ride the Freak Out and Tilt-a-Whirl, and eat great fair food.
The fair will be reviewed at the life member annual meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 14. At that time, the new township directors and board members will be elected. If any life members would be interested in applying as an associate director (if they live in a township that already has a director), they can submit their letter of application at the annual meeting.
Next Sunday (Sept. 15), you can come out and shop for bargains at the Homestead Festival Flea Market at the fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you have treasures you would like to sell, call Nancy Monier at 815-303-2905 to reserve your selling space now. Please note the October Flea Market will be held on Oct. 20, and it will be a Fall Craft Show and a flea market.
Get out your lederhosen and beer steins. The second annual Oktoberfest will be held at the fairgrounds on Sept. 28. The German Oompah band, Die Musikmeisters, will perform again with their musicians playing songs like “Beer Barrel Polka,” the “Happy Wanderer” and “Ein Prosit.” They sing in both German and English and even play some songs on cowbells. Terry Bredenberg will again play his accordion to entertain everyone beginning at 4 p.m. when the doors open. Food will be served from 5 p.m. until it’s gone. Come out and have some bratwurst or schnitzel, spaetzle, German potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut and some great desserts, while enjoying some authentic German beers, too.
Ten years ago a group of fair board members got together with some volunteers and hung up yards and yards of black plastic, plugged in a few smoke machines and the Nightmare on Fairgrounds haunted attraction was started.
This event has grown into the best haunted attraction in this area of the state, and also the largest fundraiser for Bureau County Fair. The “Spook Crew” outdoes themselves every year in trying to give our customers the best scares for their money. From the chainsaw guy in the parking lot to the scary clowns inside, this year’s 10th anniversary of Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road is going to give you the ultimate haunted house experience.
The event runs every Friday and Saturday night in October. Admission is $8, or if you want to avoid the long lines, purchase a speed pass for $10. If you want to come back multiple times, there is a new monster pass for $30 that provides eight nights of general admissions. This year’s event features many dark and twisting tunnels, the pirate trap, the ultimate clown room, the rotating tunnel that challenges your equilibrium as you try to walk through it, as well as new and constantly changing scenes of horror.
This year the Nightmare Hotel will have free admission for the kids (or even adults) that are too squeamish to go into the haunted barns. The Frankenstein Nightmare Theater will entertain the whole family, nightly. Plus David Youngquist, a noted author, will be there to speak about the ghosts of Bureau County. Mummies Eatery will be back with tasty food like Nachos and Guts, Dracula’s Delights and Devil’s Spit. Get something tasty to eat and sit around the bonfire to get warm. Also free is the hayrack ride around the grounds, but you never know who might visit your rack.
In honor of the 10th anniversary of Nightmare, a special event will be held on Oct. 19. The “Dance of the Living Dead” will follow the haunted house from 10 p.m. to midnight at the fairgrounds. This over-21 event includes an adult costume contest with prizes, dancing to a DJ, liquid refreshments and food. Start working on your costumes now for this fun Halloween costume party.
Kathy Costerisan is a representative for the Bureau County Fairgrounds.