The Great Jones County Fair- Schedule, Events, Rules, & More
They don't call it the 5 best days of summer for nothing. When I was growing up in Monticello the Great Jones County Fair was quite literally the peak of summer entertainment. It was the first place I saw a concert of any kind. In fact, it allowed me to see many of my favorite bands for the first time. I could wax nostalgic all day; but what's on the card for 2023!?
The fun starts this Tuesday, July 18th.
This is the day that everyone tries to make it in to the fair. Why you might ask? Well, sneak-peek night as they call it, also allows families to enjoy much of what the fair has to offer without paying for admission. Yup, it's "free" night at the fair, stating at 6pm. And I can assure you, you'll make up for that free admission by purchasing funnel cakes, strawberry smoothies, fried and breaded tenderloins, and ride bracelets for the kiddos.
By the way, this is the night to take the kids for an evening of sugar and adrenaline rushes, as each free gate evening at the Great Jones County fair provides a deal on the unlimited ride bracelets. That bracelet allows kids to ride to their hearts desire from 6pm to 11pm on the midway. Just make sure they haven't overeaten before throwing them on the spin-ny rides.
The first night is also a great time to take the kids down the hill to the 4-H/FFA barns. You'll be able to see the latest exhibitors displaying their rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs, and cows. Then head back up the hill to enjoy the East Central Iowa Puller Association Tractor Pull at 6:30pm.
And now we get into the real deal as loads of entertainment, exhibits, and more are all available for the price of admission. By the way here's what it will cost you:
- $5 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8AM to 1PM (purchased at the gate)
- $12 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after 1PM and all day Saturday and Sunday (if purchased online)
- $15 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after 1PM and all day Saturday and Sunday (if purchased at the gate)
- $38 Admission Package (5 daily admission tickets) (buy this online here)
- Wrist band vouchers for carnival rides can also be purchased ahead of time here.
The first official day of the Great Jones County fair is Wednesday, July 19th. Starting at 8am is the 4-H/FFA Sheep Show, 4-H/FFA Goat Show Follows the Sheep Show, and the Kiddie Goat Show Following Sheep & Goat Shows. At 8:30 am is the $H/FFA Dairy Bucket Bottle showing. At 9am is the 4-H/FFA Pet Show. 10:30am is the Kiddie Dairy Show. At noon take in the 4-H/FFA Dairy show The main attraction that evening will be the National Summer Slide (Finals) NTPA National Regional Event.
The second day of the fair is Thursday, July 20th. Starting at 8:30am is both the 4-H/FFA Rabbit show and Swine show. On the track starting at 11am enjoy Harness Racing and its completely free with your admission to the fair. Then the Farm Bureau Financial Services Amphitheater rocks with Shinedown and special guests Saint Asonia at 8pm. Late night entertainment is provided by Adam Keith.
The third day of the Great Jones County Fair is Friday, July 21st. At 8:30am attend the 4-H/FFA Beef Show. Then get ready for Mr. Worldwide at 8pm as Pitbull and special guests Neon Union take the to the main Amphitheater. Late night entertainment is provided by Crazy Delicious.
The fourth day of the fair is Saturday, July 22nd. Start of at 8am with the 4-H/FFA Poultry Show. At 11am get to the track for The "MID-SUMMER DIRT CLASSIC." This race features IMCA Modified, IMCA Stock Cars, and IMCA Sports Compacts and its completely free with your admission to the fair. At 12:30pm attend the Prime Steer show. At 4pm take in the kiddie beef show. Then the fair goes truly country at 8pm on the Farm Bureau Financial Services Amphitheater with Jon Pardi and special guest Russel Dickerson. Late night entertainment is provided by the Boot Jack Band.
The fifth and final day of the Great Jones County Fair is Sunday, July 23rd. Enjoy the 4H/FFA Equestrian Show starting at 8:30am. Also at 8:30am the Jones County Farm Bureau BBQ Contest starts and goes all day, with judging from 1 to 4:30pm. At 11am enjoy some Mutton Bustin', Barrels, and Bulls at the amphitheater. The big show for the evening is Christian music entertainment at 8pm featuring We The Kingdom with special guest Anne Wilson on the Farm Bureau Financial Services Amphitheater.
Each big show in the amphitheater will feature a Fireworks Extravaganza at its conclusion.
You don't necessarily have to pay any more than your entrance fee to see these amazing headlining acts. As always, Hillside Grass areas remain free for all to sit and enjoy the entertainment. The Hillside Free Grass Seating Policy is as follows:
- Blankets or tarps allowed on grass beginning at 8 am
- Tarp size Maximum allowed is 8 by 8 feet
- No taping tarps together
- Remove all trash & items when leaving
For those of your hoping to attend this year, the Great Jones County fair has went to a strict Clear Bag Policy. Guests will be able to carry the following bags onto the grounds.
- Bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12" x 12" x 6". Gallon clear plastic freezer bag.
- One small clutch purse or wallet 4.5" x 6.5" (about the size of a hand) or smaller, with or without a handle or strap.
- One diaper bag (additional inspection required).
Prohibited items include:
- Backpack / Clear Backpack
- Tinted Plastic Bag
- Camera Case
- Binocular Case
- Printed Pattern Plastic Bag
- Oversized Tote Bag
- Mesh Bag
- Professional Camera (ticked areas of concerts)
- Selfie Stick
- Knives (larger than 3")
In addition to the big shows, there is free entertainment available each day of the fair in the Pepsi Plaza and is as follows:
Take part in "Kids Celebration: #1 Family Game Show." It's a highly creative game show that encourages kids and parents to participate. Kids Celebration fosters friendly, team-style competition and laughter is a guarantee, as kids engage with one another in an all-out extravaganza!
The Foam Zone is for everyone to step in, enjoy, and get a lot of laughter out of! The foam is hypo-allergenic, eco-friendly, pet friendly, and safe for grass! The foam also dries in about fifteen minutes so you can go about the rest of your day at the fair. Be sure to stop on by and jump on in to the fun!
The Pompeyo Family & Their Amazing Dogs; you may have seen the Pompeyo's Ranch on Americas Got Talent and now you can see some of their amazing show live at the fairgrounds in Monticello, Iowa.
Tiger Encounter brings some of the most beautiful and fierce creatures on earth up close and personal. You won't want to miss these large cats showing off their natural abilities as they run and jump, kiss and roll around with their trainer. Not only can you watch these animal during the show but you can see them after shows or in the evening running and playing together.
Space Adventures brings STEM and fun together. This thrilling act includes a trampoline wall, motorcycle globe, aerial combined with globe, fire performance and comedy juggling.
Pretty Bird Paradise lets you interact with beautiful birds in a safe enclosed environment. You might even get the opportunity to feed the birds with food sticks which allow the birds to come and land on them and have a tasty snack.
The Free Stage Schedule offers more entertainment for your admission. Entertainment includes music from Brothers Walker and the magic and mystery of Extreme Illusions and Escapes.
There is also a Kids Zone open each day of the fair from 1 to 5pm located inside the air conditioned Berndes Center. Kids can enjoy:
- Arts and Crafts
- "Papa Balloon" Creations
- Corn Boxes
- Lego Race Tracks
- Face Painting
- Strolling Card Magician
- Play with Giants Ag Edition
- Farm Toys
There's loads to do in my hometown of Monticello, Iowa Tuesday July 18th through Sunday July 23rd. Get out and enjoy the Great Jones County Fair. Looking for a map of the fairgrounds? Find it here. A complete in-depth schedule can be found here.