“It is for the kids of Newton County,” was a phrase included the opening prayer at the annual Fairgrounds Benefit Dinner and Auction held Saturday evening. This prayer by the vice-president of the Newton County A&M Society, Bob Harris, summed up best the reason for the event.

“It is for the kids of Newton County,” was a phrase included the opening prayer at the annual Fairgrounds Benefit Dinner and Auction held Saturday evening. This prayer by the vice-president of the Newton County A&M Society, Bob Harris, summed up best the reason for the event.
The Newton County A&M Society is in charge of the county’s fairgrounds. The Society does get a small tax from the county coffers, but Bill Thogmartin, president of the group, said half of the county’s share must go for insurance.
It was a fun-filled evening with much camaraderie, conversation, good food, and renewal of old acquaintances. Some former Newton County residents from as far away as “a two-hour trip” from Arkansas came to the fundraising event. For the out-of-town guests, the evening was a homecoming.
An estimated 150 guest were served a steak dinner, accompanied by a huge baked potato, fresh salad, buns, and a choice of cookies.
Money raised was primarily for the upkeep of the buildings on the fairgrounds. This year’s funds are dedicated to new sheep and goat pens and toward a new animal building. Previous auction funds were used to build a new show area and a commercial building.
A large number of children were present and they enjoyed each other’s company, playing and running in the large building that a previous auction had help build. One youngster discovered a log chain on the portable corral that was donated for auction and he knocked it around so the corral rang like a bell.
Thogmartin summed up the wide array of items for auction by thanking all the donors and saying, “There's something for everybody.” There were large bales of hay, pies and cakes, childrens books, a Red Ryder BB gun, a cattle feeder, potted plants, cattle feed, and a unique coffee table made and donated by Steve Chapman, owner of Chapman’s Sawmill. The coffee table brought $300.
The money from the dinner and over $6,000 from the auction will be used by the A&M Society to boost the fair by improving the buildings and grounds. Local auctioneer, Bob Lasswell, donated his time for the auction.
 It was announced that the 51st Newton County Fair will be held July 11-14. The Newton County Fair continues to grow, unlike many county fairs which are slowly fading.
All in all, it was a fun evening filled with delicious food, good friends, and a new pot of money raised “…for the kids of Newton County.”