Residents of Shawnee and surrounding areas are invited to the 81st Annual Pottawatomie County Free Fair Sept. 4-7 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center for fun, games and shows.

According to volunteer Suzanne Gilbert, this year the Free Fair will have activities for everyone.

"We have the same time honored activities like the livestock show and the horse show and all the projects people bring from throughout the county to enter like the 4H clubs...We tried to make it diversified for everybody," Gilbert said.

Gilbert explained this year at the Free Fair there will be new events and events that began last year.

"Something brand new this year is on Friday (Sept. 6) evening. We're having a karaoke singing contest that they can come be part of," Gilbert said.

The volunteer said for the second year there will be a miniature cattle show for children too young to be in 4H or FFA.

"The age limit is 4-7 to be able to come out and show. That's on Friday (Sept. 6) at 2 p.m. That was a pretty big hit last year and gives those kids an opportunity to be with their...family members and come out and be apart of the fair," Gilbert said.

In addition, Gilbert said for the second year the Free Fair will have an invitational jackpot 4H archery contest.

She said there will also be a horse show for FFA and 4H students as well as an open show for anyone who wishes to be involved on Saturday, Sept. 7. In the evening Saturday, Gilbert said attendees can see the garden tractor pullers.

"It's a good family event everyone can come to and everything is free at the fair. You can walk through all the buildings. We have a big commercial booth area and all the activities that go on. Everything is free except for the carnival," Gilbert said.

The County Free Fair, Gilbert said, is the third largest active county free fair in the state and while the city doesn't make money from it, it's a fun event for everyone in Pott. County.

"We really work all year long trying to make sure we put on the best fair we can and not just for our youth, but for our adults...It's for everybody," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said for any non livestock competitions people would like to enter, Entry Day is Wednesday Sept. 4 from 3-6 p.m.

In addition, Gilbert said there is a great children's barnyard with animals and giveaways for students of all ages. Friday, Sept. 6 is Kids Day in which students from the preschools and elementary schools can come and enjoy the fair.

Attendees, Gilbert said, can expect to see the annual Firefighter Olympics with firefighters from stations throughout the county competing for first place.

"That's a huge draw and there's a big traveling trophy that they all compete for," Gilbert said.

This will be the volunteer's 30th year helping with the Free Fair and she said it's always a fun time with so much for members of Shawnee and surrounding areas to enjoy.

"It's not just about coming out to see the live stock and everything like that. We have so many activities for everyone to enjoy," Gilbert said.

For schedules see page 2G and for information on the County Free Fair visit the Facebook page or freefair.org.