ELIZABETH - Despite an afternoon downpour, the 54th annual Wirt County Fair got underway Wednesday at the fairgrounds on Camp Barbe Road.
Debbie Hennen, fair association chairwoman, said the weather did not seem to have much of an effect on the turnout.
"So far, so good in spite of the weather," she said. "Tonight (Wednesday) was the market hog show, rabbit show and all of our pageants."
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Several carnival rides were up and running Wednesday for the first day of the 54th annual Wirt County Fair at the 4-H fairgrounds along Camp Barbe Road.
The Wirt County Fair Queen for 2013 is 18-year-old Hope Brick, daughter of Pat and Yvette Brick of Elizabeth.
Winning the Little Mister title was Zane Alden Reeder, son of Jason and Kristin Reeder. Winning the Little Miss title was Daisha Nichole Allen, daughter of Crystal Whited and Jason Allen.
Brooklyn Dawn Smith, daughter of Rory and Angela Smith, won the Wirt County Princess Pageant.
* 9 a.m: Gate opens
* 3 p.m.: Youth contests
* 4 p.m.: Carnival Opens; No Guarantee (Pavilion)
* 5 p.m.: Simply Bluegrass (Pavilion)
* 6 p.m.: Poplar Bluff (Pavilion); Bingo; Truck Pulls registration (Track); Beef and Sheep livestock show and showmanship
* 7:30 p.m.: Truck Pulls (Track)
* 8 p.m.: Davisson Brothers (Pavilion)
* 11 p.m.: Carnival closes
Hennen said the first day was on par with previous first days at the county fair.
"We have 6,000 to 7,000 here for the week," she said.
In the past the fair's slowest night was the second night.
"This year we decided to try to do something to boost attendance on Thursday," Hennen said. "That's why we have the Davisson Brothers here. They are a big draw."
Hennen said the fair draws in a crowd because of the atmosphere. She said there are cases of the third and fourth generations participating in the fair.
"We pride ourselves on being the good old country fair," she said. "This year on Saturday we will have some of the old traditional games like the watermelon-eating contest."
Other events then include the skillet throw, hay bale toss and horseshoe pitching.
One change is that the arm wrestling tournament will be the state championship.
"We've always had it, but this year it will be the state championship," she said.
Hennen said the fair features mostly local vendors and most of those are fundraisers for local service organizations and groups like the Wirt County High School Band.
Hennen said the Wirt County Fair is like fairs of years past.
"Here is what I find amazing about our fair," she said. "If you look around you see kids running everywhere, their parents are content to know it's a safe environment for the youth; we pride ourselves in that."
Hennen said the fair is in part to promote the 4-H and FFA.
"That's what it's all about; it's all about the kids," she said.