SARAH STUMP CHECKS in quilts and afghans at the Hancock County Fair Tuesday. The fair gets underway this morning and runs through Labor Day. Veterans get in free today, and those over 60 will be admitted for $2 each. Donkey races and the Hancock County Band Show are among today’s highlights. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

Are you ready for an elephant ear?

How about a free dinner for 500 veterans?

All sorts of fried fair food, livestock competitions, and entertainment are on tap as the Hancock County Fair begins its six-day run at 8 a.m. today at the fairgrounds off East Sandusky Street and Fishlock Avenue.

The fair continues through Labor Day.

Junior Fair royalty was crowned Tuesday night at the fairgrounds, and a photo of the winners can be seen today on Page A3.

Today, veterans will be special guests as the fair officially opens. Veterans with proper identification will be admitted free to the fair today, while senior citizens 60 and over will be admitted for $2 each.

Tonight, Kathy’s Korner Restaurant of Arcadia is serving a free dinner to about 500 military veterans at the Old Mill Stream Centre at the fairgrounds, complete with linens and a live band.

Organizers had to stop taking dinner reservations from veterans; the building will be full.

Later tonight, donkey racing returns to the fairgrounds in the north grandstand. Jockeys will attempt to “race” the donkeys, although not all donkeys cooperate. Riders must be on the donkey to finish the race.

Proceeds from the donkey races go to Flag City Honor Flight.

Also on the schedule today are the Hancock County Band Show; junior fair horse, swine, and dog shows; a draft horse show; and harness racing.

The main entrance to the fair is on Fishlock Avenue, and the main fairgrounds exit is the Sandusky Street gate.

Today’s fair schedule:

All day — Gospel pavilion open.

8 a.m. — Junior Fair horse show, north grandstand; Junior Fair swine show, NWO Arena.

9 a.m. — Open class Grange entry judging in Grange Building — includes farm products, horticulture, woodworking, domestic arts and crafts, hobbies and collections, honey and bee, and baking department.

10 a.m. — Open class poultry, poultry barn; Junior Fair dog show, Recker Arena.

1 p.m. — Harness racing, south grandstand; Junior Fair poultry judging, poultry barn.

3 p.m. — Junior Fair poultry judging, NWO Arena; Junior Fair rabbit showmanship, NWO Arena; Open class special draft horse show, north grandstand.

4 p.m. — 4-H photo contest, youth building.

5 p.m. — Open class baked goods auction, Grange Building.

6 p.m. — Open class photography judging, Grange Building.

7 p.m. — Hancock County Band Show, south grandstand; Donkey race, north grandstand, followed by inaugural youth dodgeball tournament.

11 p.m. — Fairgrounds closes.