BROOKVILLE — Bigger and better is what the Jefferson County Fair Authority wanted this year’s fair to be, and their hard work paid off.

The fair is no longer confined to the county’s borders, but is drawing both visitors and participants from distant places. This year’s fair has even had international coverage.

A special highlight at the fair, unnoticed by most, was a visit from a news crew from ITV, the United Kingdom’s largest commercial broadcaster. On their way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the film crew heard about the racing pigs at the Jefferson County Fair. Because they had never seen the racing pigs, they decided to stop at the fair and film some of the events.

Prior to their visit Louisa Felton, spokesman for ITV, said in an e-mail to secretary Jim Grant, “Although I gather the area is Republican leaning, I’ve noticed that in places like Jefferson and Elk County, Hillary Clinton was the more popular candidate (against Obama) back in 2008 but in the recent primary elections, she lost to Bernie Sanders. With this in mind, we’d like to visit the county fair to speak to people about Hillary Clinton and why so many people no longer support her.”

The film crew also stopped in for the Figure 8 races, the demo derby and the fiddle contest, as well as talking politics and watching the racing pigs. Visiting the fair along with Felton were ITV news anchor Julie Etchingham and cameraman/editor Luke Collinson.

Besides the ITV film crew, visitors drove from as far away as Johnsonburg, Clymer, Leeper, Sligo and Dayton to experience a day or event at the Jefferson County Fair.

Vendors returned to the fair from Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and points in-between.

Friday night’s Rawhide Rodeo was a crowd pleaser, “with more cowboys and cowgirls this year for the rodeo,” said authority member Toni Facchine. “There were 33 teams for the team roping, 38 barrel racers and 25 for the calf roping.” Among the participants were riders came from Arizona, New York and Ontario, Canada.

Looking at the week-long activities, Facchine said “the number of exhibits were up in the general exhibit building, especially the youth exhibits.” This year more than 1,800 items were exhibited. One of the winners, who is now 90+ years old, said she is already working on her project for next year’s fair. Exhibitors came from local areas including Emlenton and Greensburg, and as far away as South Carolina.

Perhaps the biggest surprise at this year’s fair was the second annual Cutest Fair Baby Contest. While there were only three entries last year to kick off the event, the baby contest blossomed this year to include 31 entries. All the babies are residents of Jefferson County and are one year old or younger.

This year’s winner is four-and-a-half-month-old Aubrey Nicole Enterline, daughter of Seth and Jessica Enterline of Corsica. Second-place winner was four-month-old Gavin Michael Barr, son of Michael and Lacy Barr of Brookville. Taking third-place honors was one-month-old Teigan Michael Lewis, son of Kayla Bailey and Zachary Lewis of Brockway.

Winners in the baby contest were selected by cash donations, with one penny counting as one vote. This year’s total was $2,330.29. All the money will be donated to the NICU at Penn Highlands DuBois.

Saturday’s track events went well, Facchine said. “We have a list of the old drivers,” and it will be sent to Jay Milligan, of JM Productions, who has already signed a contract for next year’s demo derby. “The figure eights (held Saturday afternoon) were really fun to watch,” she said, “moving around through those tires and crashing. It was really entertaining.

Facchine said she also heard “a lot of good comments on the restrooms and the overall condition of the grounds. As for the fair in general, we had a great week.”

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