Siouxland Stories: Clay County Fair continues countless years of Grandstand greatness

Siouxland Stories

SPENCER, Iowa (KCAU) — Known by some as the “World’s Greatest County Fair,” the food, rides, and entertainment found at the Clay County Fair in Spencer play a big part in that.

Fairgoers have enjoyed big name entertainment in the Grandstand. Dave Potratz, a long-time fair board member, has coordinated the Grandstand back for over 50 years, welcoming performers, like Bob Hope and Garth Brooks.

Garth Brooks, who’s probably one of the number ones out there, we’ve had Kenny Chesney, we’ve already had Blake Shelton, all of the great ones, along with the Bob Hope of the century that everybody knows,” said Potratz.

On any given night during the the fair, more people will gather here in these seats than at any other Spencer event all year long.

Built in 1936, the grandstand provides a gathering place for families across the region, a family Potratz said he’s lucky to have been part of.

“That’s what you do it for us to make sure that the people that buy the tickets and sit down stands buy the tickets and sit next dance have the best time that they can have and the fact that if you can make sure they’re having a, good time and enjoy themselves I’ll come, back to another show in another year.”

Thursday night, Josh Turner headlines the Grandstand show at 7:30 p.m. This year has been like no other, with each artist requesting their own level of COVID protocols to be enforced, if not in the Grandstand, at least back stage.

“The acts have changed a lot. When an act like Bob Hope did 2 shows for $36,000. Today is one show and entertainers get, we can afford 85, hundred, thousand, to a million going down the road. That’s what’s changed lot,” Potratz said.

After years of service on the fair board, Potratz is stepping down when this year’s event is over but said he still plans to be backstage in 2022 when another lineup of entertainment takes the Clay County Fair stage.

The Grandstand has hosted many entertainers in years past, including Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, and many more.

It’s estimated 30,000 people will fill the Grandstand over the course of this year’s 10-day fair.

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