2003 Lawrence County Fair takes off this week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2003

ROME TOWNSHIP- It is a community gathering and a showcase for junior talent combined with down-home entertainment.

The annual Lawrence County Fair began Saturday with a horse show and motocross event, But this year's fair promises something a bit out of the ordinary - Lawrence County's Bicentennial Bell, in celebration of the state's 200th birthday, will be made on-site Monday and Tuesday.

The Verdin Company of Cincinnati will bring in a mobile foundry and make the bronze bell using 400 pounds of ingots in a three-step process Monday and Tuesday. The bell will be officially presented to county leaders in a ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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This year's 4-H competition includes one new category, market goats.

"It's been a pretty popular event in other fairs around us and the 4-H clubs thought it would be a pretty good project," Fair Board President Doug Clark said.

Market goats are raised for their meat, as opposed to dairy goats that are bred to give milk.

Clark said some improvements have been made since last year's fair. He hopes fairgoers will notice spiffier environs.

"We've updated the camping facilities," Clark said. "We've spent about $12,000 on electricity and water. There's a new fence in front, we've done some painting and some maintenance. I think the fairgrounds looks as good as it ever looked."

One potential travel snafu may be alleviated during fair week. Clark said Ohio Department of Transportation officials have agreed to halt road construction work in the area, allowing people easier access to the fairgrounds. Both the Chesapeake Bypass project and the State Route 7 widening project in Proctorville continue in the eastern end of the county.

Organizers expect 50,000 to 60,000 people to visit the fairgrounds in Rome Township during the week-long event.

Clark said the fair is an opportunity for 4-H club members to display their leadership and agricultural skills.

"The 4-H clubs have always been a big part of this fair and always will be," Clark said. "It is a learning experience for the kids and the adults. These kids are our future leaders. The more they learn at a young age, they better we'll all be."