New events for Ellis Jr. Free Fair
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
ELLIS -- Eldon Pfeifer has served on the Ellis Junior Free Fair board for more than half his life, including several years as president.
His youngest son, Brandon, remembers following his dad around the fair from the time he could walk. Now, the son still is following in his father's footsteps.
Brandon Pfeifer, now grown with a family of his own, is in his second year as president of the fair board.
He was vice president for two years before he moved up the ladder in a hurry last summer when the president resigned shortly before the fair.
So the schedule already was set for the 2012 fair. However, that gave Brandon Pfeifer and the rest of the board time to come up with some ideas for the 81st annual fair this year.
"D.J. and I were visiting about bringing some of the things they did way back when," Pfeifer said of board vice president D.J. Fischer.
One of the most requested events that people wanted brought back was hog wrestling, a popular event that used to be a staple of the Ellis fair until it became difficult to "find enough hogs" to pull it off, Pfeifer said.
"We got some sponsors this year and have had lots of interest," Pfeifer said. "It's going to be an all-nighter, I'm sure."
Other new events will be the engine blow, where people buy time slots for when the train whistle will blow, and two more activities for children -- a touch-the-truck event and a mechanical bull.
The fair always has featured oodles of things for youngsters to do, and even has a time set aside Thursday especially for children's games.
"There was a huge crowd for the kids' games last year; I'd guess there were over 1,000 kids there that night," Pfeifer said. "A lot of the families don't live around here anymore, and they plan their vacation around this."
That's because there's a lot of good, old-fashioned, free fun in a safe atmosphere.
"We center the fair on family; we want it to be as free and family-friendly as we can," Pfeifer said. "People sit and visit and let their kids run and roam -- we try to keep prices down, so they can come out and have a good time and not worry where their kids are."
For information about any of the events, call Pfeifer at (785) 726-3310.