The McHenry County Fair kicked off the evening of Aug. 1, adding an extra half day to its schedule this year.

Last year, about 60,000 people attended the fair, but with this year’s extended run, organizers are hoping to draw 70,000 to 75,000, according to Katie Bloomfield, the fair’s general manager.

“We have a bunch of cool things going on that people tend to miss,” Bloomfield said. “In the exhibit halls, people enter and showcase all of their projects. People who did not grow up in the fair-showing community don’t even realize all of the things offered.”

Among the new offerings at the fair this year will be Kidbucks, an interactive game show. The family-friendly attraction, which will run three times a day from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 3 to 6, allows children from the audience on stage to play for prizes.

“What little kid wouldn’t want to be on a game show?” Bloomfield said.

Another new, kid-friendly feature will be an indoor fishing pond in Building C, where children can experience the thrill of catching a fish. The attraction will be used to collect donations for a pediatric cancer foundation.

The fair has offered rodeo-style events in the past, but this is the first year that a team-roping competition will be featured. The event will feature two-person teams working together to rope a horned steer. Roping duos from all over the Midwest will compete for cash prizes. Scoring is based largely on time, but there is also a point system for whether both horns or both rear legs were roped successfully.

Team roping will be in the grandstands at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2. Admission is free.

In contrast to the new attractions, the long-running Miss McHenry County pageant will return again this year, featuring about 65 contestants  competing in four divisions: Miss McHenry County, Teen, Junior and Princess.

Bloomfield noted the grandstands are always packed for the Miss McHenry County Pageant, and this year, more seating will be added specifically to accommodate the families of contestants.

Barnyard Discoveries, offered daily starting at 10 a.m., will be run by the junior fair board and offer kids a close-up view of life on a farm. Even an inside look into the health and veterinary care that goes into owning farm animals will be shared with curious minds.

“They will have baby farm animals, fun learning activities and lots of hands-on,” Bloomfield said. “We want people to see the cool stuff going on in McHenry County in agriculture.”

The McHenry County Fair will run Tuesday to Sunday, Aug. 1 to 6, at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the fair entrance. For information or tickets, visit mchenrycountyfair.com.

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