In about 125 days, many expect to gather for the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna. While the theme this year is "Bringing back the Fun in 2021," fair manager Scott Kozelka has spoken as much about the smiles he expects to see, as about the fun that fairgoers are looking forward to. Join Kozelka for a special edition of "Fair Talk" on AM 1390 KRFO Friday, April 16 at 9:40 am, also simulcasting on 94.7 FM.

Kozelka remains optimistic for a 'normal' fair, though he admits there are still some uncertainties. He and the fair staff are working on multiple plans based on possible guidelines from political and health officials.

Smiles should be plentiful, even if they are hidden behind masks at times. Between camel rides, the new display 'Jurassic Kingdom' and all the regular attractions that bring about 300,000 visitors each year to Owatonna, Kozelka hopes there's much to smile about.

A new feature to be watching for in 2021 (and it will be hard to miss) is Max Power and NITRO. The nine-foot tall robot will roam the fairgrounds, talking and dancing. NITRO is his monster truck.

Beer Garden entertainment is set.

  • Tuesday, August 17 - Arch Allies
  • Wednesday, August 18 - the Johnny Holm Band
  • Thursday, August 19 - the IV Play Band
  • Friday, August 20 - Thunderstruck (an AC/DC cover band)
  • Saturday, August 21 - Led Penny in the afternoon
  • Saturday, August 21 - Shane Martin in the evening
  • Sunday, August 22 - Dan Stursa in the afternoon
  • Sunday, August 22 - the White Keys in the evening

The Auto Museum will feature muscle cars of the 1960's and 1970's. If you would like to have yours on display, contact Jon Simon at 507-676-1207, Charlie Kaplan at 507-363-6810, Jerry Carstensen at 507-363-9660 or Les Abraham at 507-451-6455.

Kozelka says the Steele County American Dairy Association is bringing in a mobile dairy classroom that features a fully operational milking parlor. Several classes will be held each day.

Nominations are being taken now for the Steele County Citizen Volunteer of the Year award. A female and male aged 70 or better will be recognized for their community contributions since turning 65. The honorees will be highlighted at Fair Square Park on Thursday, August 19 at 11:30 am. Nomination forms are available at West Hills Social Commons, the fair office, or here. The award is sponsored by the Steele County Exchange Club. Deadline to submit a form is May 1, 2021.

Dates for the Steele County Fair are August 17-22. Catch the countdown and take a look at what's coming in 2021 at

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$10,000 will buy you plenty of mini-donuts at the Steele County Fair. You can WIN CASH on this station's app.

MORE TO EXPLORE: Fun Memories of the Steele Co. Fair


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