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Fair begins with new barn, hopeful kids


ROME TOWNSHIP — Emily Greene of Willow Wood gave her sheep, Lilly and Mimzy a big hug Sunday afternoon.

Months and months of a friendship between the young lady and her lambs was reaching its pinnacle: they were all at the Lawrence County Junior Fair. If Mimzy and Lilly are lucky, the judges will like them just as much as Emily does.

“Several people she knew had sheep and we thought we’d try it,” her mom, Beverly Greene, said as she looked on the affection between the sheep and their shepherdess.

This is Emily’s first time showing at the fair. Mom said she hoped her daughter learned the enormous responsibility involved with caring for an animal. But for now, Emily was content to get in quality time with friends.

“I like that I can lay down with them and do my homework,” she said.

Emily — and lots of other young people just like her — will be proud to show off their projects at the fair this week. They have something in common with the fair board. The fair board is proudly showing off its new fair barn, not quite finished but better than its predecessor by, well, a country mile.

“I had faith but I was worried,” board member Randy Lambert said as he surveyed the massive steel structure that was built only within the last few months.

The idea for a new fair barn may have been around for a while but plans were put into motion at the end of the last fair. Problems along the way caused concern about whether the barn would be ready for the fair. Making matters worse, the old barn was torn down earlier this year.

“I was ready to go looking for tents,” board member Donny Craft said.

Lambert said the aggravation of getting the barn built was erased when the kids began showing up with their animals and saw the new arena and livestock pens that awaited them.

“Just to see the kids faces when they saw it for the first time,” Lambert said. “It was all worth it.”

The dairy and pygmy goat show were the first competitions in the new barn and arena Sunday evening. The Extreme Motorsports Motocross was the entertainment at the grandstand. The fair continues today.

The market rabbit show was at 8 a.m. followed by tobacco judging at 1 p.m., opening ceremonies and the fair queen pageant are at 4 p.m., the sweet tooth auction at 6 p.m. The market chicken show, chicken showmanship and market goat show, will be at 7 p.m.

The Tough Truck Competition will be the grandstand entertainment. The fair closes Saturday with the large animal livestock auction.