This is a day that many of us have been looking forward to – the beginning of the 2016 Fair Week in Jefferson County. Livestock trailers are moving toward our Route 28 Brookville location from all directions, creative people are bringing in their entries for judging in the general exhibits, and vendors are setting up their stands in anticipation of an enjoyable and profitable week.
The formal opening of the fair will be held on the Community Stage at 1:30 p.m. with Karen Uplinger as emcee and music from a community praise band assembled by Andy Burkett. Today’s speaker will be Marcia Shaffer, a former Brookville school bus driver who has trained for the ministry and is now pastor of the First Baptist Church in Punxsutawney.
Former Miss Ohio, who is also our favorite “Weather Girl,” Mackenzie Bart will return to the Fair stage as emcee for this year’s royalty competitions. She will host the three princess and five junior queen contestants as they do their personal talent presentations; and then the two queen contestants who will be interviewed, answer impromptu questions, and then give a speech detailing her support for her favorite charity. And we will all want to know who the winners are!
Beginning last August, plans were pulled together for the featured events at the grandstand. Some are home-produced and the track committee, chaired by Doug Brosius of Big Run, presents the details at our regular Fair board meetings. We have been doing horse pulls on Sunday evening, ATV races on Monday nights, a Mud Bog on Thursday. Each of these events will follow the previous year’s rules but will be enhanced wherever possible for the pleasure of both participants and audience while keeping safety on the track as a top priority.
All evening events on the track are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. if possible. ATVs have been dropped from the classes at the Mud Bog because it has been found that they cannot get through the pit successfully and a lot of audience-time is lost while each ATV is dragged back out of the mud. A new feature on Sunday at 4 p.m. will be the mini-horse pull. These little horses are as much fun to work with and show as their bigger cousins, but they aren’t as expensive to raise and keep.
The truck and tractor pulls on Tuesday and Wednesday have been contracted with Rick Feicht of Full-Pull Productions for many years. They are popular to watch, especially when family and friends are on the track to compete. Rick’s rapid commentary about the drivers, machines, and event histories add to the excitement and enthusiasm. The same is true for Thursday night’s Rawhide Professional Rodeo that includes all the regular rodeo events found anywhere including bull riding.
When planning began for Saturday’s Demolition Derby a company, from Lakeview, N.Y. near Buffalo, was contracted to do figure-eight races on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the regular Demo Derby at 7. Owner Jay Milligan had a chance to prove his worth with a Monster Truck Show combined with a small demo derby at the fairgounds in May and it was very well produced. We are looking for another success this coming weekend.
Over the last few years, we have brought in a variety of family-oriented professional acts but the most popular ever, was the Circle C pig/duck/goat races. The “Hogway Speedway” will be back in business this week at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. We will also have Michael Felk who will show how a tin can is formed into practical and attractive products as he works.
We have also had strolling acts during past fairs, and this year we’ve contracted with two young local men under the name of M&M Magic. They are Bobby and Danny Mehok who grew up in Sykesville and who’ve entertained extensively in the Tri-County Area. In addition to displaying their talents are they move around the grounds, they will entertain with a stage show each evening Monday through Friday.
Activates on the Community Stage this year has been focused more on community groups with a “Family Fun Night” by area Girl Scouts on Monday, games organized by Brookville Relay for Life teams on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a unique “Vigil and Luminary” on Saturday evening by a local Suicide Awareness Team.
Throughout the week, there will be music on stage, including the popular “Village Voices” from Brockway who will entertain at the annual Senior Citizens Event on Thursday. The Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging will have a variety of wellness information available in the morning and a lunch served at noon. Reservations are made via area senior centers.
There will be a rock band called “Bad Hat Daddy O’s” composed of the Chelednik father-son duo on Tuesday. In keeping with the fair tradition, “County Pride” from Reynoldsville will play over suppertime. Later a group from Brookville’s Create Café will bring along its monthly “Fiddler’s Jam.” The “Hidinger Band” will do an old-fashioned country hoe-down on Friday with the possibility of some square dancing led by caller Scott McClelland.
Most of Saturday afternoon is taken up by Kim Thomas’ Old Fashioned Fiddle Contest, followed by a performance by “The Banned” composed of Jared Thomas and Samantha Sears. Meanwhile, I had a recent communication from Louisa Felton, who works for the news division of the United Kingdom’s largest commercial broadcaster ITV. Along with her anchor and cameraman/editor, she will be traveling through our area Saturday on the way back from the political convention in Cleveland. She would like to film part of the fiddle contest. “Do they play violins?” she asked. My answer – No, they play fiddles; same instrument, just different style.
Felton will be interested in doing some down-home interviews on the political climate in Jefferson County. She also thinks the British viewers will be excited to see our pig races, along with figure-eight auto races and demolition derbies, which she’d never heard of before. We will look forward to meeting with them.