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A fair to remember

PROCTORVILLE — To say it was little soggy and humid at the Lawrence County Fair may be quite an understatement. Several days of the fair were marred by rain, thick and muddy grounds and even lightning and strong thunder. There were also days when temperatures hit 90 degrees or higher.

But, organizers and fair-goers alike said they were still impressed week-long event, which is designed to showcase the county’s 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups and the work that they have done all year.

“We had a really good rain crowd,” said Doug Clark, president of the Lawrence County Agricultural Society. “We had several days of rain, but still people came out.”

Entertainment variety spices up fair

Clark said this year the fair brought in a variety of acts in order to draw a wide-ranging group of people — from those who like to see bucking bulls to those who like to tap their toes to country tunes.

“Really I think it was the line up,” Clark said. “I was glad that we

The headliner of this year’s fair was country singer Tracy Byrd who took the stage Friday night to a crowd of about 5,000 people. A large donation from the Liebert Corp., as well as smaller contributions from other local businesses, made bringing in the national recording artist possible, Clark said.

“We’ve had a lot of sponsors that have helped us out. You’re talking about $30,000 it took to get him (Byrd) to come. There is no way we could’ve done it without them,” he said.

Escape artist Michael Griffin and the bull riders from the Bull Mania show proved to be big hits, as well.

“I am glad they had different stuff this year,” said Candace Baldwin, a 15-year-old Crown City resident. “Usually, they have country music, but nothing that other people would like. I think more people came out because there were cool things to watch.”

But, she admitted the rain kept some of her friends from coming.

“I wanted to come and have fun, the only problem is that my feet are muddy,” she said as she showed off her flip-flop-clad feet.

All had a good time

Although they got drenched and their feet got muddy as well, Greg and Thelma Robinson, of Chesapeake, said they had a great time, as usual.

Both say seeing old friends and being in the fair atmosphere is worth withstanding the elements. Then, there is the food, too.

“You got to come to the fair to get the fair food. I love that part. It’s the funnest part; coming and picking out which junk food you are going to eat first.

Usually, she said, she heads straight from the lemonade stand and the funnel cake vendors. Then, she admits, she finishes with a nice, cold bowl of ice cream or a strawberry shortcake.

Betty Fairchild said the county fair is the biggest social event of the year in the county. Thousands gather, she said, to fellowship with their neighbors, family and friends.

“It’s always a good time. It doesn’t matter if it rains or if it’s a little hot, people always get together at the fair,” said the Chesapeake resident.

Big winners

Although there was plenty of food and fun to go around, organizers say the main focus of the fair is the 4-H and FFA groups, whose projects are the product of hours of blood, sweat and tears.

“The kids are always good,” said Laura Jane Murphy, county 4-H organizer. “This year we had a lot of good shows and projects and there were so many good people involved.”

She said both 4-H and FFA teaches kids values such as hard work, dedication and responsibility.

Not only do the kids get skills they can use throughout their lives, they can get some cold, hard cash too — and a lot of it. This year, the big winner was Justin Payne’s grand champion market steer, which brought in

$5,915.60, a price paid by Dr. Steven Milleson.

During the auction of his animal, the 14-year-old stood in amazement and beamed with pride. The Ironton High School freshman said he knew his steer was a good one, but didn’t know just how good it would fair when it came to auction time.

“At first, no one was bidding and I kind of got nervous,” Payne said. “But then, I didn’t know what to think. I really couldn’t believe it.”

Now, he has to figure out what to do with his earnings. The teen and his dad, Judge David Payne, have some differing opinions on that.

“I’d like to by a Ranger, a truck,” Payne said. “But, I think my dad wants me to put some of it back (in savings). I don’t really know.”

Milleson plans on packing his freezer full of beef in the upcoming months.

“It’s really for the kids,” said the optometrist, who buys animals every year during fair auctions. “It’s all for the kids.”