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MASON CITY | The North Iowa Fair continues this weekend, with the majority of entertainment, attractions and exhibits being offered for free, including carnival rides. 

A new queen took the throne during opening ceremonies Thursday night. 

Emily Shatek, 16, of Mason City, has been crowned the 2018 Miss North Iowa Fair Queen. She is the daughter of Tim and Gayle Shatek and will be a junior at Newman Catholic this fall. 

"I was really excited to be able to have an opportunity to be more active in the county fair," she said.

As official hostess of fair activities, Shatek has a busy weekend ahead of her: attending shows, handing out ribbons and interacting with fairgoers while completing 4-H duties and competing in events. 

Shatek, who is involved in cheerleading, band and golf, has been part of 4-H for six years. Her 4-H involvement includes the State 4-H Council. 

"I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet new friends," she said of 4-H. 

Her county and state exhibits have included communications, home improvement, sewing, photography and dogs. 

Shatek will also represent Cerro Gordo County at the Iowa State Fair Queen contest in Des Moines in August. 

During the five-day judging process, Shatek said she will answer questions about herself, her community service and political and world events. She will also be judged on her poise, personality and manners. 

She's proud to be representing North Iowa next month in Des Moines. 

Shatek said Mason City is a "good-sized city, but still has a hometown feel."

"You feel safe and welcome and always know someone you know wherever you go," she said. 

The fair kicks off Saturday with hot air balloon demonstration and launches beginning at 6 a.m. at the greenspace. Balloons will also be launched at 6 p.m., and a “glow show” is 8 to 8:30 p.m.

The MacNider Art Museum will offer activities for kids in the All-Seasons Building 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bungee trampoline fun, $5 pony rides and free carnival rides begin at 11 a.m., followed by North Iowa Youth Center’s free inflatables at noon and the Little Farmers Interactive Exhibit at 1 p.m.

Shows start with the Extreme Raptors: Birds of Prey outdoors at 1:30, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.; BMX pros trick team stunts outdoors at 2:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and magic by Levey The Great in the All Seasons Building at 5 p.m.

The “Stringman” Paul Imholte will play in the All Seasons Building at 3 p.m. William Elliott Whitmore begins the Small Stage Music Festival in the Olson Building at 7 p.m. The Jesse Allen Band will play at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday is the All Veterans Family Day.

Balloons will launch at 6 a.m., followed by a fundraiser breakfast 7 a.m. until gone hosted by a local Vietnam Veterans chapter at the Loafing Shed.

Entertainment begins at 11 a.m. with free carnival rides, a magic show by Levey the Great in the All Seasons Building, bungee trampoline fun and $5 pony rides.

Free inflatables begin at noon. The Little Farmers Interactive Exhibit opens at 1 p.m.

Live shows start with the Extreme Raptors: Birds of Prey at 12:15, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.; BMX pros trick team stunts at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.; Denny’s School of Dance at the Olson Building at 1:30 p.m.; “The Andrews Sisters” by Stebens Children’s Theatre in the All Seasons Building at 2 p.m. and the Bill Riley Talent Search in the All Seasons Building at 4 p.m.

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Contact Ashley at 641-421-0556 or on Twitter @GGashkmiller. 

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