“New” is the word at the 47th annual Newton County Fair, now underway through Saturday on the Roy Jean Carter Memorial Fairgrounds.

“We are dedicating our new Newton County flag,” explained Marilynn Ruestman, presiding commissioner, while presiding over the opening ceremonies of the fair Wednesday afternoon. “Newton County just recently made their own flag, and we will be flying that over this fair for the first time this year. All the stars on the flag stand for a little town in Newton County, so when you see it flying – if you’ll look around – you should be able to find your town, or your little village even will be on there.”

Ruestman said the county has donated the county flag, and the new flagpole was donated by Supreme Steel, and was installed by New-Mac Electric. She said state Rep. Bill Reiboldt has provided the state and U.S. flags to fly over the 2014 Newton County Fair.

“So the new pole and flag is flying over the new exhibition hall. 2014, this is our first time to use the hall for the fair. This hall is 12,000-square-feet, cost $750,000 to build it, took three years to get the project finished. And it started because of a snow storm in 2011; if you all remember, the roof fell in and brought all the sides with it, so there was no building.”

Ruestman said the Newton County A&M Society began to work three years ago to replace the building, and she thanked a long list of supporters for their help in bringing the project to fruition, providing special thanks to the A&M board president at the time, Estella Osborn.

Ruestman said the state and federal emergency management agencies helped put the financing together, and Branco Enterprises and Hometown Bank helped with the funding.

“You’re looking at a project that took a little time, but this community put this project together by all of us, all of you, working together,” she said.

There is more “new” yet to come to the fair. Bill Thogmartin, president, A&M Society board, then introduced Bill Snow, plant manager, and a contingent of La-Z-Boy Midwest employees, who presented the fair board with a check for $25,000.

“During the fair time you’ll see a tremendous amount of our La-Z-Boy employees and their families either being a part of the fair or enjoying the fair, and what better way for our foundation and our employees to share back with our community than trying to help continue the support here at the fairgrounds,” Snow said.

Snow said the La-Z-Boy Foundation was able to help the fair build a new chicken barn two years ago.

Thogmartin said the La-Z-Boy donation will go toward a new show arena.

“We’re going to build a new one,” Thogmartin said. “The one we have was damaged in the snowstorm, and we scabbed it back together. We’re going to regroup.”

He said the new show arena will be ready for the 2015 Newton County Fair, and anticipates it could be completed before the end of this year.