The big day has arrived – the long-awaited and much-anticipated beginning day for the 2018 Jefferson County Fair at Brookville, after a whole year of planning and contracting for services. The official opening comes at 1:30 this afternoon when our announcer Karen Uplinger, who partners with her husband Mike as “Dazzle U Productions”, steps out to introduce the afternoon program on the fair’s Community Stage.

This year’s speaker will be Pastor Joni Williams of the “Faithful Followers” United Methodist Charge with congregations in Knoxdale, Meade Chapel, and Port Barnett. Joni is a native of the Hazen Area with a fine country upbringing and a message to match. Special music will be provided by several young people from the Brookville area led by Andy Burkett.

Following this opening about 2:30, a total of sixteen young ladies will take their turns on stage to compete for crowns as fair princess, junior queen, and queen to preside over festivities during this week and on throughout the coming year. The listing of contestants was previous covered in the excellent tabloid published last week by Patti Slaughter and the staff for local newspapers.

The seven Princess and four Junior Queen contestants will be judged on their introduction of themselves and their chosen talent presentation along with poise and personal appearance. What fine entertainment that will provide. The six girls competing for Queen will have a pre-pageant interview, impromptu question, and speech presentation on the subject, “Why should you come to my fair?” Upon whose heads will crowns rest by the end of the afternoon.

Meanwhile out of the track in front of the grandstand, horse-pulls will be done with teams of “mini-horses” where their competition is just as fierce as that of full-size teams later in the day at 7 p.m. Local farmers and 4-H members will be stabling their prize animals for their competitions and a steady stream of kitchen-expert want-to-be’s, artists, and crafters will be entering the very best choices for prizes in the general exhibit departments. Entries were received on Saturday afternoon and will continue on Sunday from 1-6 p.m.

To guarantee freshness for judging, junior baking entries and chocolate cakes are due by 5:30 on Monday; apple pie and angel food cake entries by 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The committee has developed some all-new contests: quilt blocks with the fair theme of “Farms, Families, Fairs, Fun!”; tree decorating with artificial trees on the theme of “Christmas in July”; creative decorating of artificial paper mache hands from PatCatan’s; and re-purposing of common items around the home into something new and useful. All details can be found on the website or be calling 814-715-2904. Better move quickly since time is running out. We’ll be interested to see what appears this week.

Near the front gate, the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners will be hosting a daily Educational Garden Tour every day at 6:00 p.m. The gardens will demonstrate the growing of unusual grains including rice, Quinoa and Amaranth, techniques for trellising, friendly bees in the garden and how to attract them, a Pennsylvania Native flower bed, a Pollinator bed, a fall hoop house, two herb gardens, and their own super “not-so-secret” soil. Self-guided tours are also available at any time during daylight.

Under the grandstand, the Master Gardeners will have a booth open from 5:00 to 9:00 daily for education exhibits on a variety of subjects including soil-testing, rain gardens, friendly bees, honey bees, and Monarch butter flies. They will offer “panning for gold” which could be a lot of fun for kids when it’s hot ... for any body to play in the water. The gardens and booth became a reality on the fairgrounds in 2015 and have become a popular year-round attraction to anyone interested in growing plants.

Our youngest granddaughter moved to North Carolina about 10 years ago to follow her husband’s career and to raise a family. They are currently preparing to move back to Pennsylvania and set up a yard sale to downsize their “stuff.” A friendly North Carolina native stopped by to look and casually inquired, “Moving away?” “Yes,” she said, “Back to Pennsylvania.” He responded, “Oh! I sometimes work in Pennsylvania in the summer ... at fairs. I have the Circle C Hogway Racing Pigs.” Now that led to a different twist in conversation because that Dennis Cook has been with us a number of times and we’re good friends. It’s a small world!

By mutual agreement, we had decided not to have that popular event at the fair this year. They are going somewhere else and we booked a different animal act called Circus Stella, which we expect to be another popular entertainment featuring amazing rescued dogs. The shows include rope and trapeze acts, unicycles, juggling, stilt-walking by the show owners. Owner Dextre Tripp is an experienced dog trainer who has developed fun acts with his rescued animals. We think everyone will enjoy their acts.

Special entertainment has also been booked for the Community Stage: two hours of Bingo by the Relay for Life people on Tuesday and Thursday evenings; Ray Lantz’ “Final Cut” on Wednesday for those coming in at half-price admission; “The Stillwater Acoustic Band on Friday; Kim Thomas’ Fiddle, Banjo, and Mandolin Contests on Saturday afternoon; followed by Rick Delia and his Rockin’ Buddies on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Additional acts are still being scheduled. Anyone interested in spending time on stage may call Stage Manager Karen Uplinger at 814-849-7638.

We expect to have a climbers’ rock wall for the adventurous and a simulator for distracted driving, both provided by military groups; outdoor displays to see; and a great variety of foods to enjoy. Many people already know about the other track entertainment in front of the grandstand: ATV Racing and Mini Tractor pulls on Monday; Truck and Tractor pulls on Tuesday and Wednesday; Mud Bog on Thursday; Rodeo on Friday; and Figure 8 and Tuff Truck Races, Demo Derby on Saturday.

There will be the T&D Wood Carvers in action. Bingo and entertainers on the Community Stage. A Favorite Baby Contest in the Exhibit Buildings. Bartlebaugh Amusements for the young and old at heart. It’s going to be a great week. Come on out to the Jefferson County Fair. Don’t miss all the fun!

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