It’s almost that time of year again when, for four days, the Newton County Fairgrounds is filled with animals, carnival rides, vendors, and area residents.
The fair kicks off on Wednesday, with the opening ceremonies slated for 4 p.m. at the fairgrounds, 700 Field Avenue, Neosho.
Bill Thogmartin, a fair organizer, said the annual event draws between 3,000 and 5,000 people each year.
In addition to the spectators, the county fair also draws hundreds of area youth who participate in the events.
“Last year we had 285 kids from about 14 clubs and FFA chapters,” Thogmartin said. “The numbers are about the same this year.”
He said participants work for months to prepare to show their animals or talents at the fair.
“They start in November for the following year,” Thogmartin said. “I believe they have to attend monthly meetings and monthly workouts on each project. They have to attend so many classes in order to be in good standing and go to the showing.”
The youth aren’t the only fair participants working to prepare months in advance.
Thogmartin said organizers begin planning for the next year’s fair as soon as the current fair wraps up.
“We start the day after the fair is over, getting ready for the next year,” Thogmartin said, noting that much of the work done from year to year is keeping up with maintenance on the fairgrounds.
On Saturday, workers gathered at the site for some last minute preparations, such as painting and lighting setup, before the fair begins mid-week.
Work has also been underway on a new exhibit building, though Thogmartin said it will not be completed until September.
Thogmartin said this year’s county fair will feature the same popular attractions as in years’ past.
The fair will include a carnival, presented by Pride Amusements, beginning Wednesday evening and running through Saturday, a market show, set to begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, entertainment set for 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a pig scramble and Show-De-O scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, and several additional showings and events running throughout the four days.
“We have pretty good entertainment, I think probably a little better than we’ve had in the past,” Thogmartin said.
He said the fair will also include a variety of food vendors, offering everything from barbecue to Chinese food.
Present at the fairgrounds throughout the week will be this year’s fair royalty, set to be crowned in a ceremony at 2 p.m. today.
For a more detailed schedule of this year’s Newton County Fair, see the upcoming special section in Wednesday’s edition of the Neosho Daily News.