2011 was a tough year for the venerable Ionia Free Fair.  They had to close down early last year due to rain and flooding conditions, and some folks were wondering if there would even be a fair this year.

Of course there is a fair.  What would July be without the Ionia Free Fair.

It's going to be bigger and better than ever, and, the good news is that music returns with Grandstand shows after an absence.

The fair schedule is still heavy with the traditional 4H exhibits and shows, tractor pulls (July 19, 27, 28) and the grand parade (July 21), also includes a Wellness Day (July 23) and a football camp(July 20), targeted at 6th through 12th graders, with some former NFL players helping.

The "ag ri-science" area continues to have a foothold at Ionia and similar fairs with university connections assisting development of new crop and animal research.

The E!Park stage will once again offer free concerts during the fair's run -- and an "Ionia Idol" competition on July 25. There will be the usual midway rides, attractions and concessions.

Other free events include swine racing and circus and high-wire acts.

With a new slogan "memories made here," the Ionia Free Fair is ready for all.

Want to know "all?"  Here is the schedule and list of activities, ioniafreefair.com.