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Posted on Aug 12, 2019

Duck races to make a splash at Grant County Fair

Amid the music, food, animals and carnival rides, one event will stand out at the 2019 Grant County Fair from Aug. 13-17: the duck races.
A new event to the fair as of last year, the races consistently drew crowds of about a hundred, said Grant County Fairgrounds Director Jim McKiernan. Races occur every day in the south field, starting as early as 1 p.m. and finishing at 8 p.m.; races start about every 90 minutes, according to McKiernan.
Races begin with children holding the ducks – live water fowl provided at the fair – at the starting line. At the horn, kids drop the ducks into a pool where they race to the finish, a length of about 40 feet. Prizes are awarded to each winner, according to the fairgrounds webpage.

A contestant drops a duck into the water at the start of the race.
Submitted by Jim McKiernan

The event, also known as the Great American Duck Race, has garnered nation media attention in the past from the likes of the The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine and “The Tonight Show,” states the webpage.
If duck races aren’t exciting, the fair also hosts the third largest livestock auction in the state, according to McKiernan. Over 600 animals will be cared for, cleaned and sold at the auction. Children help prepare the animals for the auction, and according to McKiernan, not all of them enjoy rising early in the morning, around 5-6 a.m., to tend to their livestock.
“These animals start making noises as soon as daylight hits,” McKiernan said.
The weekend evenings are headlined by several musical artists, including Austin Jenckes, a former contestant on “The Voice,” accompanied by Cody Beebe on Friday. Saturday takes a Latin-American theme with Mariachi Huenachi and Grupo Sigglo taking the main stage at 7 and 8:30 p.m. respectively.
The fair will also showcase about 20 food vendors and 7,000 exhibits from about 1,900 exhibitors, according to McKiernan. The carnival will be produced by Davis Shows, as it has been for the last 10-plus years.
The county fair is a hot ticket in the area; according to McKiernan, about 77,000 tickets were sold just last year.
“It’s probably the largest event in Grant County, other than Watershed,” he said.
Tickets for all five days are $18 for adults and $11 for youth ages 8-17. Carnival wristbands, which allow for unlimited rides for one day only, are $26. All are granted free admission to the fair on Tuesday, Aug. 13, and children under 7-years-old are granted free admission all week. Purchase of demolition derby or rodeo tickets also grants access to the fair. For more information, visit

By Miles King,