A weekend steeped in tradition and filled with activities for all ages is planned Thursday through Sunday, August 25-28, as part of the 123rd Gillespie County Fair in Fredericksburg.Set for the Gillespie County Fair Grounds, the four-day exposition is sponsored by the Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association, Inc. and features live pari-mutuel horse racing, carnival and midway, music and dancing, displays of agricultural and home products, livestock competitions, parade, queen’s contest and more.The 123rd Gillespie County Fair opens on Thursday, August 25, with free admission to the grounds; gates open at 5 p.m.The Wright’s Amusements carnival and midway will be open on Thursday and continues throughout the weekend. Carnival wristbands are $20 per person on Thursday night and $25 per person Friday through Sunday.Also taking place on Thursday night at the outdoor pavilion at the Fair Grounds will be the Texaco Country Showdown beginning around 7 p.m. There is no admission charge to the event, which features local and area musicians competing for a chance to advance to the next level of the contest.Earlier in the day on Thursday, entries will be taken in the agriculture and home skills departments from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Judging gets underway at 6:30 p.m.Floats, cars, bands and other individual entries from throughout Central Texas will be featured in the Gillespie County Fair Parade on Friday morning beginning at 10 a.m. The annual parade will travel along Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg. From there, events shift back to the Gillespie County Fair Grounds where a variety of special activities for the entire family are planned. Gates open at 1 p.m. on Friday.The 2012 Gillespie County Fair Queen and her court will be crowned during ceremonies on Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. in front of the grandstand. The catalog dedications will also be made at that time. This year’s Fair Catalog is dedicated to two honorary lifetime directors, Richard Laughlin and Lewis Dodd.Providing dancing music on Friday night at the outdoor pavilion from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. will be Darrell McCall and The Tennessee Volunteers.A concert and dance featuring Johnny Lee and The Urban Cowboy Band followed by Jason Boland and The Stragglers will be held at the outdoor dance pavilion from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday night. Live pari-mutuel horse racing will be offered on Saturday and Sunday with post time at 1 p.m. both days.The 2011 racing season at the Class III facility at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds concludes on Sunday. Highlighting the racing program on Sunday will be the running of the 2011 Gillespie County Fair Futurity. Mutton bustin’ for youngsters weighing 65 pounds or less will be featured at 6 p.m. on Friday night and following the races on Saturday night. Each night, mutton bustin’ is limited to the first 15 youth to sign-up, and there is a $10 per rider entry fee. Registration takes place prior to the event each evening.Throughout the weekend, the Exhibition Hall will be open for those interested in viewing the agricultural and home products displays, educational exhibits and more. There will also be a number of commercial vendors. The Hill Country Antique Tractor and Engine Club will be offering demonstrations and presentations during the fair. Over in the Show Barn, livestock judging will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.Plenty of food and drink will be available from a variety of vendors. There is no admission charge to the grounds on Thursday night. However, there is a charge for the carnival and midway rides and activities.In keeping with tradition, all senior citizens (those 65 years of age and older) and all students in kindergarten through grade 12 will be admitted free on Friday. General admission throughout the weekend is $5 for adults, $1 for children six to 12 years of age and free for those under six. After 6 p.m. on Saturday night, admission to the grounds is $10 for adults, $5 for children six to 12 years of age and free for children under six. For the races, general admission seating is available in the Biergarten, under the grandstand and in the grandstand. Box seats are also available for $9. Parking is free.For more information on the 123rd Gillespie County Fair activities, contact the Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association at 830-997-2359 or visit their website at www.gillespiefair.com.The Gillespie County Fair Grounds is located on Texas Highway 16 South (Kerrville Highway), about two miles from Main Street.