BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Family is a big theme at local county fairs. That includes the busiest in the state, which is currently underway in Boone County.

One family has been showing horses at the Boone County Fair for over 100 years. They said it is a tradition that never gets old.

“Horse Showing” is a longtime staple at the fair, and the Ellingson family has been there for it all.

“It was over a hundred years ago, and to be honest none of us are old enough to remember how it started, but I do remember going to the old fairgrounds, which was down on the river before they moved here in, I think 62,” said Bill Ellingson, who is showing 13 horses this year. “So, we’ve got a long history here.”

It was all started by Ernie, Bill’s grandfather. It is now a tradition for the whole family to enjoy. Whether it is pigs, cows or the 13 horses this year, the Eillingsons have shown everything.

One horse, Tina, was seen getting a nice brushing after a long day Thursday.

“Have three children, and the first time that they drove a horse each time, you know, it was always really special for us to see my oldest, 22,” said Tony Ellingson. “So, know, they’ve kind of aged out, but yeah, those things are really special memories for us.”

With so many different types of shows, it is a full family effort, and then some, to get everything ready to go.

“We brought down 20 carts, 20 horse-drawn vehicles just to fit into this class or that class,” Bill said.

The Boone County Fair is filled with long-time returnees, which is one of the things that Bill loves most about it.

“There’s a big community celebration too, and so I saw two of my classmates today that I haven’t seen in years and years and years, and that’s what brings a lot of people that will go anywhere because, you know, everybody in the county, everybody that grew up in the county might be there,” he said. “So, you get to see a lot of your old friends here, too.”

The horse showing will continue on Friday and Saturday for those still hoping to check it out.