The 51st annual Newton County Fair is under way with all the sights and sounds of a fair, everything from the aroma of funnel cakes and other foods to barns filled with animals that the youth of Newton County have raised and nurtured for the event.

The 51st annual Newton County Fair is under way with all the sights and sounds of a fair, everything from the aroma of funnel cakes and other foods to barns filled with animals that the youth of Newton County have raised and nurtured for the event.
The work of many hands, ranging from cakes and cookies to home grown garden items to handmade items, are also on display in the exhibit buildings.
Haylee Austin, 17, as the 2018 Newton County Fair Queen provides a royal presence for the event. In addition to serving during the fair's open and closing ceremonies, Austin also gives out award ribbons. She's also showing three dairy goats as well so it's a busy time for anyone, let alone a queen.
"It's my first time to participate (in the fair royalty contest," Austin said.
Despite the fact that it's her first time as royalty, she's been part of the fair for a long time.
"I've shown since 2011," she stated. "I've always done dairy goats. I also did a cow one year, now that I think about it."
The Diamond Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter sponsored Austin in her effort to become queen and she's an active part of the organization. Austin is now a senior at Diamond High School and will graduate next spring. Her future plans are not finalized yet but the 17-year year old is considering becoming a teacher. "I haven't decided yet," she said about her future. "My main goal is probably teaching, either in ag or science or even teaching little kids in elementary school."
Although she'll wear a crown and sash during portions of the fair, Austin won't always be formally dressed. "We can wear our fair t-shirts," she said. On Wednesday, prior to the fair's opening ceremonies, that's what Austin was wearing. "I have a lot of fair shirts."
Not surprisingly, the annual Newton County Fair is a seasonal favorite for Austin. "It's been fun, real fun, so far. My favorite (thing) is to reconnect with everyone that is showing at the fair." Since the fair encompasses all of Newton County, some of her fair friends are ones she spends time with mostly during fair week. "I like to hang out at the fair and show my goats."
Although Austin hasn't decided whether or not she'll participate this year, the goat costume contest is a long-time favorite. "It's fun to see what the kids (who show goats) come up with for costumes," she said. "They're so creative and it's fu to watch them bring the goats out, dressed up."
This year, Austin has three dairy goats at the fair. The oldest, named Hazel, will retire after the fair to enjoy a long life running around the farm and pasture.
The goats are always popular with the human kids. "Sometimes we bring in animal crackers (for the goats). They love them. We let some of the little kids feed them."
Despite the summer heat, Austin is enjoying the fair and will be serving as queen throughout the event. The 51st annual Newton County Fair will end Saturday evening but after clean-up, plans for next year's fair will begin.