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08-08-2019 Berrien County Youth Fair opens Monday, Aug. 12

Berrien County Youth Fair opens Monday, Aug. 12

“Welcome to the Fair” from the Board President

“On behalf of the Berrien County Youth Fair Board of Directors, I would like to welcome you to the 74th annual Berrien County Youth Fair, August 12-17. Our theme this year is ‘Country Nights and Carnival Lights’, and we are excited about making memories and celebrating at this year’s fair! The directors, fair staff, advisors, superintendents, sponsors, and over 1,500 volunteers have worked all year to make this a place to showcase the youth of Berrien County.

“We want to thank all of the people and businesses that have stepped forward to assist in raising funds for exhibitor premiums. Thanks to all of the people that attended the fundraiser dinner dance and also donated items for the silent auction, and to those that simply donated with the attitude that ‘it’s all about the kids’.

“The BCYF, which attracts over 120,000 spectators, is an event for the entire family to attend. Our visitors will find something for everyone to enjoy: almost 12,000 exhibits on display exhibited by over 2,000 Berrien County youth ages 5 through 20, animals, food, rides, over 150 commercial exhibits, entertainment, beautiful flowers and grounds with picnic tables and benches to name just a few. The fair is once again ‘going green’ this year! You’ll see recycling containers located throughout the grounds.

“Check out free attractions, including: a look at Berrien County’s rich agricultural history; The Magic of Jonathon LaChance, a FREE show for the entire family and daily entertainment in our mall area on the Al Barbott Memorial Stage with PA and lighting equipment from Indiana Michigan Power, Cook Nuclear Plant’s Heart of Cook grant. The Entertainment Committee is excited to host award winning country group Eli Young Band with special guest Paul Erdman on Wednesday, two nights of demolition derby and crowd favorite Bullmania to close out the week. Don’t forget the other unique entertainment at the Midwest’s Largest Youth Fair, including super farm, mini rods and hot farm truck and tractor pulls on Monday. Kids’ Day is Tuesday, with free admission for kids and three free circus shows in the Grandstand. We are expecting a lot of thrill seekers as we again offer one low price each day for rides wristband days, which is every day this year. I hope you will a make a date for your family to come and join in the fun at the 2019 Berrien County Youth Fair.

“As always you can find great fair food including just a few of our long time fair favorites such as Korn Dogs, Steak Tips, Fruit Pizza, Elephant Ears and Lemonade.

Corey Burks, President

Berrien County Youth Fair


Adult One-Day Pass (Ages 13 & Over) $7; Adult Season Pass $20; Child One-Day Pass (Ages 5-12) $4; Child Season Pass $10; Age 65 & Over One-Day Pass $5; Age 65 & Over Season Pass $13; Military One-Day Pass (with ID) $5; Military Season Pass (with ID) $13. FREE PARKING!


Sponsored by Country Heritage Credit Union, Shuttle Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. There will be special golf carts providing a shuttle service from various points throughout the fairgrounds to assist fair visitors who need a little extra assistance getting from one location to another. Shuttles will stop at designated locations, which will be marked with a sign.


The 2019 Berrien County Youth Fair gates open on Monday, August 12, at 7:30 a.m. with most exhibit buildings ready for viewing by 11 a.m. Rides, however, will not start until 6:00 p.m. on Monday only. Tuesday through Saturday, rides start at 11:00 a.m. Office hours during Fair Week are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission gates close daily at 10:00 p.m. Tram service is available from the Yellow Parking Lot located near the Gate 3/Shawnee Entrance from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


As a long standing tradition, showing in the equine area begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday of Fair week so they start with the presentation of colors and the national anthem between 8:00 and 8:15 a.m. on Monday August 12, 2019.


Again this year at the Berrien County Youth Fair every day will be RIDES WRISTBAND DAY. The cost of a wristband is $22 each Monday through Thursday and $25 each Friday and Saturday; with that a person can ride “most” of the rides as often as they want any one day during the fair. Wristbands may be purchased at the Wade Show Rides Office during the Fair, between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Fair admission is not included. The minimum height requirement for rides is 36 inches.


The King and Queen Contest will be held on Friday, August 9, in the Grandstand at the 2019 Youth Fair. Please note the contest is now held on Friday prior to Fair and admission is FREE. A king and queen will be selected from the contestants and will represent the Youth Fair at all events during the Fair. The contestants are ages 16 – 18. They must be a resident of Berrien County and a current exhibitor at the Youth Fair. Contestants are: King – Jackson Hall and Matthew Carpenter; Queen – Annette Donner, Morgan Gruss, Karen Smith, Samantha Pankratz, Alexandria Smith, Sydney Melton, Allison Crites and Kathleen Krieger.

A Prince and Princess Contest will be held at 7:00 p.m. before the King & Queen Contest. Contestants are ages 9-12. Just as the King and Queen contestants, the Prince and Princess contestants must be a resident of Berrien County and a current exhibitor at the Youth Fair.

Contestants for this contest are: Prince – Wyatt Baker, Michael Steinke, and Brayden Lawson; Princess – Torey Robbins, Evelyn Furst, Mattalyn Weinberg, Gracie Worley, Megan Bryant, Jessica Thornton, Brielle Berberick, Abiageal Smith, and Kyra Krieger.

Tracy Wise will serve as emcee for the program.


Located in the center of the fairgrounds is the permanent stage, in memory of Past Fair President, Al Barbott. The stage will provide free entertainment for patrons of all ages. Surrounding the area are numerous park benches and picnic tables, a perfect place to rest and relax during your visit to the Fair.

This mall area also features a water fountain/planter donated by Glen & Helen Wade of Wade Shows and a large clock was added to this planter; a special memorial stone dedicated to the first BCYF President – Burton Richards. The mall area serves as the location where they proudly display the American Flag, the State of Michigan Flag, and the BCYF Flag in planters made from the Buy-A-Brick fundraising campaign. This area is brightly lit in the evening by beautiful street lamps donated in memory of Burton Richards and John Schadt.

This mall area also has a 20×30 concrete dance floor positioned in front of the stage so visitors can dance to the great music. Memorial contributions from Jim Hopkins Sr., Jim Walter and Russ Widdis helped to construct the dance floor. A gazebo in memory of Joe Zahrn also sits in the mall area. In 2016 a roof over the mall stage was constructed in memory of Fred Schmaltz and just this year, a beautiful eagle was carved from a tree in memory of Jim and Barb Hopkins.

PA and lighting equipment was made possible for this stage from Cook Nuclear Plant’s generous “Heart of Cook” grant.

There is different entertainment each day in the mall area. Monday, Aug. 12, 6:00 p.m. Elvis Reprise; Tuesday, Aug. 13, 11:00 a.m. DanceArts Performers; 1:00 p.m. Home Ec. Food Awards; 2:00 p.m. Frozen T-Shirt Contest sponsored by The Herald-Palladium; 4:15 p.m. READY Taekwondo Demonstration; 5:30 p.m. Mexican Heritage Dance Team; 7:00 p.m. Mark Ficks Band; Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1:00 p.m. Home Ec. Clothing Awards; 3:30 p.m. Flower Awards; 5:00 p.m. Gypsy Red; 7:00 p.m. Lake Effect Jazz Big Band; Thursday, Aug. 15, 1:00 p.m. Horticulture Awards; 2:30 p.m. Crafts Awards; 4:30 p.m. The Toonas; 7:00 p.m. Past Time Band with special guest Billy Shelton; Friday, Aug. 16, 3:00 p.m. Lacey Peters Zumba; 5:30 p.m. Amarillo Sky; 8:00 p.m. Andrew Fisher Quartet; Saturday, Aug. 17, 12:00 p.m. Bad Entertainment; 2:00 p.m. Resurrection Blues Band; 5:00 p.m. E-man; 8:00 p.m. Blue Shoes Jazz.


Monday, Aug. 12 6:00 p.m. 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show – Best of Berrien County’s most talented youth, ages 7-10.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Law Day – Around the outside of building #34; 5:00 p.m. Joy Bringers Bell Choir; 6:00 p.m. 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show – Best of Berrien County’s most talented youth, ages 11-14; 7:00 p.m. Citadel Dancers.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 6:00 p.m. 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show – Best of Berrien County’s most talented youth, ages 15-18.

Thursday, Aug. 15 7:00 p.m. Square Dancing Demonstration.

Friday, Aug. 16 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Senior Day/Exhibits and Demonstrations; 6:00 p.m. Talent show winners – Winners Performance – Welcomed by 98.3 “The Coast”.

Saturday, Aug. 17 Noon Baked Fruit Pie Contest – Winners announced at noon with pie tasting afterwards. Pre-registration required; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. FIRST Robotics


Monday, Aug. 12 7:00 p.m. NTPA Regional Truck and Tractor Pull featuring Super Farm, Mini Rods, and Hot Farm Pulls; Ticket prices: $14, $12, $8.

Tuesday, Aug. 13 1:00, 4:00 & 7:00 p.m. Circus Continental; All shows FREE.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 7:00 p.m. Eli Young Band with special guest Paul Erdman; Ticket prices: $45, $35, $10.

Thursday, Aug. 15 7:00 p.m. Truck Demolition Derby; Ticket price: $13.

Friday, Aug. 16 7:00 p.m. Car Demolition Derby; Ticket price: $13.

Saturday, Aug. 17 7:00 p.m. Bullmania; Ticket price: $12.

Tickets for all events are on sale now and may be purchased at the Fair Office prior to Fair week Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; starting at 2:00 p.m. during fair week at the Grandstand Ticket Office; or anytime online at


Celebrating Berrien County’s rich agricultural history – exploring the many ways produce travels from farm to plate. Check out the fair’s website for a complete schedule of daily speakers and presentations. The Historical Building is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.


The Berrien County Youth Fair proudly presents the “BCYF Wonders of Birth” exhibit. Eric & Dana Lee, Superintendents, along with their committee have been working hard to put this together.

Just to name a few of the many things to be seen: mother and baby animals including rabbits, goats, sheep, beef, dairy, and horses; knowledgeable volunteers to answer questions about the birthing process; action photos of births; a birthing video. The Berrien County Youth Fair is committed to providing an animal education exhibit to promote the animal agriculture industry. To expand the knowledge and awareness of the general public relating to agriculture, volunteers will be available to discuss animal birthing.

The “BCYF Wonders of Birth” exhibit will be open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This exhibit is supported by Indiana Michigan Power – Cook Nuclear Plant.


There are over 100 businesses represented in the three commercial buildings and over 30 exhibits featured outdoors. Hours for the commercial area are: Monday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. There is a contest for outstanding commercial displays among the buildings and one overall display ribbon for outdoor exhibitors. The winners are selected by various committee members and exhibitors. Ribbons will be awarded to the winners.


The trophy room, located in Building 10, houses over 480 challenge and revolving trophies that are on display during Fair week, when not being presented. Once these trophies are presented, they are brought back to the trophy room where the exhibitor’s name is engraved on the trophy. At the conclusion of the Fair, the exhibitors are allowed to pick up their trophies and take them home for the year. Challenge and revolving trophies must be returned the following year, prior to fair, so that they may be awarded again.

There are also over 70 annual trophies housed but not displayed in the trophy room that are awarded during Fair week. Once presented, annual trophies are kept by the exhibitor.


The Magic of Jonathon LaChance incorporating grand illusions and audience participation, crowds will see classic magic tricks such as cutting a lady in half, and making an audience member levitate! An action packed, motivating magic show that will be remembered forever! There will be multiple shows daily.

All shows will be held outdoors on the corner of the Farm & Power area across from the AgExpo/USA Building. All performances are FREE!


Ag-Expo is buzzing with agriculture! Visit the business displays, get valuable commodity info, yummy recipes, and learn about agriculture in Berrien County. New this year, a hands-on children’s activity, the Garden of Education. Walk through a garden of vegetable plants, flowers and informational poster to learn about the plants and food they produce. Check out the “helper” displays of live bees, butterflies, worms and ants!


Each evening (except Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. in the Dairy Barn will be a special milking demonstration. The Youth Fair has its very own milking parlor located in the front of the Dairy Barn where spectators can see firsthand where and how milk is produced. Also during these demonstrations, committee members will be available to answer any questions.


Returning for the 24th year is the Farm Stock Tractors of the Pre-1960 vintage. Registration takes place the day of the pull. The tractor must be a Stock Tractor, puller must be a Berrien County resident, and will be a percentage pull, using low gear, with single tires only. Two classes will be offered, one for the tractors that weigh up to 5,500 lbs. and one for tractors weighing 5,501 lbs. and over. Each of the two classes will award a John O. Foster memorial trophy. This Pull will be held on Monday, Aug. 12 in the Grandstand at noon.

Farm Stock and Garden tractor pull starts at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 12 in the Grandstand. Admission is free.


The Berrien County Youth Fair Livestock Auction Committee extends a cordial invitation to everyone to attend and support the Annual Sale of Market Animals. The following is the schedule:

Small Animal Auction – Thursday, Aug. 15 (Location between Bldgs. 10 & 11) 9:30 a.m. Rabbit Auction followed by Poultry Auction; Large Animal Auction Friday, Aug. 16 (Location – Show Arena) 9:00 a.m. Sheep, Champion Quart of Goat Milk & Goat Auction; 12 p.m. Noon Auction of Gallon of Milk from Grand Champion Dairy Animal followed by the Beef Auction; 2:00 p.m. Swine Auction.

All buyers for Thursday’s and Friday’s Auction will need to register BEFORE sale time and receive a “Buyer Number”. For anyone who finds it impossible to attend either of the Auctions, but would like to purchase an animal in your name or in the name of your business, arrangements can be made to do so. Call the Fair Office at 269-473-4251 any time prior to, or during the week of the Fair, and give them the information. Buyers may also have someone else buy for them. In case a buyer should not want to keep the animal after making the purchase, arrangements can be made for re-sale. Payment for all animals must be made by the close of the large animal auction with cash, check, or credit card. Buyers using a credit card or who want to be invoiced will be charged a 3% time/price differential fee.


On Thursday, Aug. 15, at 3:00 p.m., at the south end of the commercial buildings is the kids’ Pedal Pull. This always popular event had nearly 100 entrants last year in the four classes. Classes are based on the child’s weight: Class #1 35-45 lbs.; Class #2 46-55 lbs.; Class #3 56-65 lbs.; Class #4 66-75 lbs. Boys and girls may enter the contest in their weight group. Entry forms are available one hour prior to the contest. Contestants will be furnished with pedal tractors; must pedal tractor without assistance; they are given two chances to move sled; and they must stay within boundary lines. In case of a tie, a pull-off will determine the winner. First place winners receive a trophy, 2nd through 5th place winners are awarded placing ribbons in each class. Each participant will receive a participation ribbon. The Pedal Pull is sponsored by Country Heritage Credit Union.


On Friday, Aug. 16 at 10:00 a.m. under the Dog/Cat Tent by Building 13 will be the Overall Small Animal Showmanship Sweepstakes. The Showmanship Sweepstakes contestants shall be comprised of the Grand Champion showmanship winners from the Small Animal Divisions of rabbits, poultry, cats and dogs. Each Sweepstakes contestant shall show competitively against the other three contestants in each respective small animal division in a round robin showmanship competition. Each sweepstakes contestant will be judged on a point basis between one and four with one being the highest and four being the lowest. The contestant accumulating the least points in each division will be declared the Showmanship Sweepstakes Winner.


On Saturday at noon, in the Show Arena, the large animal Showmanship Sweepstakes, which is the highlight of all Senior Showmanship winners, will be held. The Showmanship Sweepstakes contestants are comprised of Senior Showmanship winners from the Livestock Divisions of sheep, swine, dairy, beef, goats, llamas/alpacas. The Jack Dean Memorial winner will represent the horse division. Each sweepstakes contestant shall show competitively against the other six contestants in each respective livestock division in a round robin showmanship competition. Each sweepstakes contestant will be judged on a point basis between one and seven, with seven being the highest and one being the lowest. The contestant accumulating the least points in each division will be declared the Showmanship Sweepstakes Winner.


To expel the stored energy from an exciting, competitive, enthusiastic, suspense filled week of activities, awaiting judging results, and meeting new friends, the fun-filled Ag Olympics of the Berrien County Youth Fair was initiated almost 30 years ago. A parade from the tent between Buildings 10 and 11 to the Show Arena will include music and each Ag Olympic team and their cheering section. The parade will lead participants and spectators into the Show Arena where the event will take place. A plaque will be awarded to the winning team, and Olympic style medals (gold, silver & bronze) will be awarded to the top three teams. Each team participant will receive a t-shirt sponsored by the Berrien County Farm Bureau.

The object is to involve all exhibitors from all areas of the Fair in fun competition against each other as teams. Teams are selected by Department Superintendents and consist of six members: two Sr. Exhibitors ages 16-20; two Intermediate Exhibitors ages 13-15; one Jr. Exhibitor age 9-12; and one Young Jr. Exhibitor age 5-8. The competition is strictly fun games for the teams and the Livestock Arena is filled to capacity with family, friends, and exhibitors to cheer their team to victory.


On Saturday a parade through the Fairgrounds will start at 5:45 p.m. by the USA/AgExpo Building. The parade will travel through the Fairgrounds and end in the Livestock Show Arena. The parade consists of champion winners, Youth Fair Royalty, Michiana Two-Cylinder Tractors and more.


The 24th Annual “BAKED FRUIT PIE CONTEST” will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 in the USA/Ag-Expo Building starting at 9:30 a.m. with entry and closed judging. The public is invited to join the awards ceremony at noon, followed by pie tasting. The baked pie contest is open to Berrien County residents in two age divisions: age 12-21 and 22 years and older (including senior citizens). The baked pie must be baked at home and brought to the Youth Fair on Saturday and will be judged by a panel of judges. The pie can be a single, double, or lattice crust. Fruits must be local fruits only. Ribbons will be awarded to the top five placing contestants in each age group with trophies and special prizes going to the adult champion, youth champion, and most eye appealing winner.


Area high school robotics teams will be on site to demonstrate their robots and promote their local robotics teams. The public is welcome to come participate and learn about the growing sport of robotics. The FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge Students will be in the USA/Ag-Expo Building on Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and the FIST Robotics Competition teams in the Youth Memorial Building on Saturday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.


The backbone of the Berrien County Youth Fair is volunteers – From its inception to the present day, a key factor is people donating their time and talents for Youth. The Fair is proud to have over 1,500 volunteers working together to bring this event to life. As fairgoers tour the grounds, they will quickly notice the pride that each and every department shows in their area. People working together for a common cause and lending their expertise to improve the Fair and provide a learning experience for the youth. The Board of Directors also works all year on a volunteer basis. The enthusiasm, pride and general great attitude of all the workers is due to the fact that each and every one of the volunteers has played an important part in the growth and continued success of this “Showcase for Youth.” For anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, just call the Fair Office at 473-4251 or visit Remember, the Berrien County Youth Fair couldn’t do it without volunteers!


What makes the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds look so nice? All the beautiful flowers!! Volunteers from Berrien County adopt-a-bed, plant, weed and care for the flowers through-out the summer months. If someone enjoys gardening and has some EXTRA time the Adopt-A-Bed Program is always looking for more volunteers to help with this project. If interested, please call the Fair Office at (269) 473-4251.


Please be a blood donor on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with Michigan Blood. The blood drive will take place in the Youth Memorial Building.


Want to know what’s going on at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds anytime of the year? Stop by the BCYF web site at: Get upcoming events, upcoming fundraisers, registration deadlines, directions, entertainment line-up and ticket information (order them off the site), or send them an e-mail, just to mention a few. So, for the latest information, anytime day or night, visit

2020 DATES

The Berrien County Youth Fair dates for 2020 will be August 17 through 22 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Berrien County Youth Fair! The Berrien County Youth Fair is always three weeks before Labor Day.

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