Franklin County Fair Free Entertainment

Fair 2023 Contests

2023 Franklin County Fair Queen Competition

Hello potential Franklin County Fair Queens! The Franklin County Fair Queen competition is held annually to select the Queen for another year. The dates for the competition are below. During fair week the 2023 queen will be required to remain at the fair for the remainder of the fair. This includes daily appearances at the 2023 fair, the 2024 parade, and the first two days of the 2024 fair.

• The nomination deadline is April 28.
• Judging will take place on Saturday, July 8th, 2023 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
• The winner of the Franklin County Fair Queen contest will be crowned on Thursday, July 13, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.

Contestants must be at least 16 and not more than 21 years of age on August 10, 2023. She must reside in Franklin county or an adjoining county if the majority of her activities are in Franklin county. She also must be an active member of at least one service organization in her community including but not limited to church groups, Girl Scouts, 4H Club, FFA, etc.

For full details an a nomication form, please use this PDF link.

Click Here for Rules and a nomination form

Bill Riley Talent Search

Sunday July 16, 2023 at 1:00pm in the Van Wall Tent

Contact the fair at 641-456-2049 or show coordinator at 641-456-4859

Bill Riley LogoThe Bill Riley Talent Search annually showcases the diverse abilities of Iowa's young people. Qualifying shows are held across the state throughout the year and winners advance to the State Fair competition. Again this year, the Bill Riley Talent Search is coming to the Franklin County Fair!

Click Here for Contestant Rules and more information (PDF)

Click Here to Register!

Two divisions: Sprout Division (2-12) Senior Division (13-21)
The winning act from each divisions will qualify to compete at the Iowa State Fair, August 10-20, in Des Moines.

To register contact the show coordinator at 641-456-4859 or use the link above.

History of the Bill Riley Talent Search

In 1946, Iowa Falls native Bill Riley emceed variety shows held at the Iowa State Fair by KRNT radio. In 1957, Bill approached Fair secretary Lloyd Cunningham about showcasing talented kids during the State Fair. Two years worth of convincing later, Bill Riley's first Iowa State Fair Talent Search was held. By August of 1959, Bill had crisscrossed the state holding numerous talent shows. During the Fair, the state's brightest young stars performed for delighted Fairgoers.

"Our daily shows started at 2 o'clock," Bill recalled. "They were so popular that people weren't attending the afternoon shows in the Grandstand, so the Fair Board asked us to move our start time to 1 o'clock. Then, people went on the Grandstand, but they got there late. So finally, we started our shows at Noon."

Affectionately known as "Mr. State Fair," Bill retired from the Talent Search in 1996. That same year, the Plaza Stage was renamed the Bill Riley Stage. In 2006, Bill celebrated his 60th Fair. He passed away in December 2006.

Today the Talent Search is still thriving. Nearly 100 local qualifying shows are held across the state. There are seven days of preliminary competition for Sprouts (ages 2-12) and Seniors (ages 13-21), followed by the semi-finals and, ultimately, the selection of six Sprout champions and one Senior champion. The Sprouts do not compete beyond the semi-finals, but are chosen as champions to be showcased in the Championship Show. Bill Riley’s son, Bill Riley, Jr., continues to host the show.

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