BROOKVILLE — The 2019 Jefferson County Fair opened Sunday afternoon “with a fantastic start,” according to members of the Jefferson County Fair Authority.
Authority member Toni Facchine said, “The people that came to the opening ceremonies and the royalty pageant were treated to an afternoon of talent and good times.”
The day’s activities started with a new event, garden tractor pulls, followed by the dedication of the new Parker’s Prayer Place.
Opening ceremonies featured a devotional by the Rev. Christopher McCloskey, pastor of the Brockway Presbyterian Church. Inspirational music was provided by the Village Voices choir of Brockway.
“I have come to see the Jefferson County Fair as a pillar in our community,” McCloskey said. “All this has been provided by the grace of God.”
Following opening ceremonies 22 girls ages 8 to 19 competed in the annual royalty pageant. Winning the crowns were Rylee Grace Welsh of Brockway, queen; Claire Elizabeth Haines of Brookville, junior queen; and Anna Lee Brubaker of Brockway, princess.
Lainey Fritz, a member of the queen’s committee said, “We are so proud of our 2019 group of contestants. We hope to see many of those faces back on our community stage in the coming years of competition!”
She continued, “I think the most important takeaway from this year is everything we’ve learned leading up to the pageant. Our committee is so grateful to the fair authority for allowing us to build up this program.” Plans are already being made for next year’s royalty pageant.
While the opening ceremonies were being held on the community stage, volunteers were busy in the Shields Building arranging the exhibits being brought in for the fair. Everything from garden products to needlework to decorated Christmas trees and wooden pallets were submitted for judging.
Authority member Stefany Alexander said there are 1,301 items being exhibited this year by 94 youth and 186 open exhibitors.
Grandstand activities early in the week included the horse pulls Sunday afternoon and evening, and the truck and tractor pulls on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Wednesday is Sarvey Family Day at the fair, when admission is only $5 per person. The grandstand show will be ATV racing, presented by Legends Powersports of Brockway.
Thursday night the mud bog will be held, with the Rawhide Rodeo on Friday night and the figure 8 races and demolition derby by JM Motorsports on Saturday.
For animal lovers the barns are filled with animals ranging from tiny bunnies to large steers.
More than 30 vendors are on the fairgrounds, offering mouth-watering treats and a wide selection of products.
A variety of performers will be featured each day on the community stage, along with music by Dazzle U Productions. Circus Stella is presenting shows at 6 and 8 p.m. each evening. The Bar C Ranch petting zoo is also open each day, along with demonstrations by T & D Wood Carvings. Carnival rides and games are being provided this year by Barblebaugh Amusements.
The fair will continue through Saturday evening. “We are looking forward to a great week,” Facchine said. “Come and be our guest at the fair.”
BROOKVILLE — Rylee Grace Welsh of Brockway is the 2019 Jefferson County Fair Queen. She was crowned Sunday afternoon after competing with six other girls from Jefferson County.
The new queen is the daughter of Erin Welsh of Brockway. She will be a junior at Brockway Jr.-Sr. High School, where she is active in many clubs and sports. She is also active in Girl Scouts and was the April 2019 Civil Air Patrol cadet of the month. Her platform is autism awareness.
During the competition she said she believes the Jefferson County Fair “is the embodiment of us and our hard work; there is something for everyone.”
Besides her crown and sash, Queen Rylee will receive a $1,000 scholarship for college.
Chosen as first runner-up was Brianna Lynn Barnett, daughter of Susan and Kenneth Barnett of Brookville. She will be a junior at Brookville Area High School.
Winning the Fans’ Choice trophy was Marissa Lea King, daughter of Amy and Jerry King of Reynoldsville. She also received the award for the best essay.
Others competing in the queen’s pageant were Tia Michelle Barnett, daughter of Susan and Kenneth Barnett of Brookville; Nevada Lee Hetrick of Knoxdale, daughter of Tori Stitzinger and Buck Hetrick; Danielle Marie Maring of Brookville, daughter of Charlene and Josh; and Regan Bethany Reitz, daughter of Celeste and James Reitz of Brookville.
The contestants competed in a pre-pageant interview, essay contest, impromptu question and evening gown event.
Claire Elizabeth Haines, a sophomore at Brookville Area High School, is the 2019 Junior Queen. She is the daughter of Aaron and Sara Haines.
In introducing herself to the audience Claire said, “God has my future and I have no reason to worry.” For her talent presentation she sang a favorite song.
Chosen as first runner-up was Samantha Ann Barber, 13-year-old daughter of Jenna and Nick Barber of Brockway. Her talent presentation was a song which asked the question, what does it look like in heaven?
Named second runner-up was Selena Rae Elizabeth Buttery, daughter of Susan and Steven Buttery of Brockway. She sang “One Day.” Selena also received the Fans’ Choice award.
Also participating in the junior queen contest were Kaydence Ariel Tyree of Punxsutawney, granddaughter of Christine Tyree and Walter Foster, and Jordan Dawn Merritts of Punxsutawney, daughter of Jacqueline and Scott Merritts.
Junior queen contestants also answered impromptu questions and gave talent presentations.
Eleven-year-old Anna Lee Brubaker of Brockway is the new Jefferson County Fair Princess. She is the daughter of Amy and Shawn Brubaker, and will be in seventh grade.
For her talent presentation Anna accompanied herself on keyboard as she sang a song about rainbows.
First runner-up in the princess contest was Carlee Elizabeth Lindemuth, 10-year-old daughter of Alex and Shawn Lindemuth of Brookville. She played a flute solo, “1,000 Years.” Carlee also received the Fans’ Choice award.
Second runner-up was Emelia Elizabeth Gow, nine-year-old daughter of Sara and James Gow of Brookville. She accompanied herself on keyboard as she sang a song about who built the ark.
Also participating in the princess contest were Calista Ann Reitz, daughter of Cindie and Christopher Reitz of Punxsutawney; Emma Delaney Wilson, daughter of Jamie Wilson of Sigel; Alexxus Marie Arriana Runyon, daughter of Mary and Robert Runyon of Punxsutawney; Elliana Noelle Gow, daughter of Sara and James Gow of Brookville; Madelynn Renae Melton, daughter of Kassandra Rager and Seth Melton of Brookville; and Nora Tracey O’Donnell, daughter of Molly and Jarrett O’Donnell of Brookville.
The princess contestants answered impromptu questions before presenting their talent programs.
All contestants in the pageant received matching pink t-shirts.
The fair queen, junior queen and princess are participating in activities at the fairgrounds throughout the week. They will continue to represent the fair in various events to be held in the county during the coming year.
BROOKVILLE — Bob Shields of Brookville was presented the prestigious “Friend of the Fair” award Sunday afternoon following opening ceremonies at the Jefferson County Fair.
The award was presented by Mark Critz, western regional director for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Shields has been involved in agriculture for many years, including serving as a state officer in FFA. He served for several years on the Jefferson County Fair Authority, as a member and also as president of the board. He continues to volunteer at the fairs.
He is also a member of the NBC Chorus and barbershop quartet. Shields directs his church choir and has held several offices, including that of Sunday school teacher, in the church. He has participated in two mission trips to Haiti.
Shields and his wife, Evelyn, are the parents of four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The nomination from the fair board said, “Bob is one of the most caring and helpful individuals we would ever want to meet. He has a heart of gold and is always willing to lend a helping hand.”
Signed by Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, the award said, “On behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I offer my gratitude for your role in telling the story of Pennsylvania agriculture.”
BROOKVILLE — “Jack would be looking down and smiling now,” State Rep. Cris Dush said in opening the dedication service for Parker’s Prayer Place.
The prayer place was donated to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in memory of E. M. “Jack” Parker by his wife, Jean. The dedication was held Sunday afternoon, prior to the opening of the fair.
Dush said for many years Jack and Jean Parker gave back to their community, “but they realized that Christ is the center of their service.”
After reading from St. John 4, Dush said, “we don’t have a place where we have to go for worship,” referring to the temple. “Whenever you find God leading you, that is when you need to find a place of solitude. Some at this fair will have a calling on their heart. That little prayer closet will be a place where people can go to be in solitude with him.”
During the dedication Pastor Chuck Jack said, “We dedicate Parker’s Prayer Place at the beginning of the fair. People are coming here from many different places, many walks of life to enjoy some of God’s beautiful creation.”
He said, “Jack had an eye for beauty, and we need those focusing moments once in a while. This world is sometimes sin-cramped, and in the struggles of life in the beautiful world God created, we come to dedicate the place of prayer. I hope it will be a place where people will come and say that God is there. We dedicate this place where God will be glorified in this beautiful world for those who have eyes to see.”
Jean Parker spoke briefly, saying, “Here I am, but Jack is with me. He is pouring his love over the community and this fair. I thank the Jefferson County fair board for making this possible.”
Pastor Jack then consecrated Parker’s Prayer Place “for praise and prayer, for holy use for all people.”
Parker’s Prayer Place is located near the main gate at the entrance to the fairgrounds. While the interior is not yet finished, it will be open throughout the week for all who wish to find a moment for quiet meditation.