The Ellis County Fair kicked into high gear Tuesday with families busy with livestock and the opening day for the carnival and other entertainment for the annual event, which runs through Saturday.

On the midway Tuesday evening, crowds gathered for the pedal pull, where the top three competitors in each age group could register to move on to the Kansas State Fair pedal pull.

At the other end of the Midway, Jason D’Vaude passed the time until his show on the stage by interacting with passers by, showing kids how to balance juggling clubs on their hands or riding a unicycle around the grounds while juggling.

At about 8 p.m., as lengthening shadows offered shade and crowds began to gather, D’Vaude began what he bills as a modern vaudeville act, with juggling, jokes and even fire.

D’vaude, 31, Kansas City, Mo., said he started working on his skills when he was 17. Today he travels all over the country — and even internationally — juggling knives and performing with flaming torches.

He said he enjoys creating a fun atmosphere and enjoying spontaneous moments with the audience.

“In short, making people happy and helping people to forget about their daily lives for awhile,” he said.

D’Vaude began Tuesday night’s early show with a balancing act, using a small platform balanced on a cylander.

“Do you want to see a handstand?” he asked the crowd, getting cheers in return.

“Here’s what I call standing on the hands,” he said, and then reached down and stepped his feet onto his fingers while balancing on the platform.

But with a little egging, he did a real handstand, getting cheers.

From there he moved on to larger tricks, enlisting the help of two men from the audience to hold a 7-foot-tall unicycle, where he juggled objects including a hatchet and a torch.

Later in the evening, D’Vaude performed a fire act including fire eating and fire dancing.

D’Vaude will perform on the midway each night of the fair between 6 and 10 p.m.

Also each night at the fair, visitors can enjoy S&S Amusements carnival from 6 to 10 p.m. It features bounce houses and rides for children as well as a zipline.

Rorring Entertainment in the Unrein Building offers 1/10-scale stock car racing, and a different band will be featured 8:30 p.m. each night on the music stage — Adam Capps Band on Wednesday, DoC Band on Thursday, Paramount on Friday and Home Brew on Saturday.

The KPRA rodeo features a patriotic night Wednesday, with mutton busting for the kids opening the rodeo at 6:30 p.m.

A full schedule for the Ellis County Fair can be found at www.elliscountyfair.com/schedule.html or on Page 2 of today's HDN.