‘A Bountiful Harvest’ of events
The 58th annual Macon County Fair kicked off Wednesday afternoon at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center and will continue until Saturday evening. The theme for this year’s fair is “A Bountiful Harvest,” which residents who have their handiwork on display, have fully adopted.
Being one of the last fairs in existence to focus on the importance of agriculture in the region, the Macon County Fair works in conjunction with local schools who incorporate the fair’s theme into their curriculum. Students from each school in the district are invited to submit artwork and projects that encompass the agricultural theme. Schools also hold field trips to the fair to allow children the opportunity to see livestock up close, and have private exhibitions of the craft-work that is on display this year.
Each year, children are encouraged to enter their best farm products, which are judged based on quality and size. Eight-year-old Mariah Sloan’s 88-pound pumpkin won first prize for the largest pumpkin at this year’s fair. Carolina Cross won the “A Bountiful Harvest” award for a 46-pound watermelon. The “A Bountiful Harvest” award is giving to the entry that best fits the theme of the fair.
Local residents set up their exhibits earlier this week and will hold demonstrations to show off their trades to the public. The exhibits at this year’s fair range from the ever popular farm products to ceramics, quilts, handmade baskets, baked goods, photography and even a spinning demonstration using rabbit fur.
Franklin resident Lois Cox has set up basket weaving demonstrations at the fair for the past several years. “People joke that I have become a ‘basket case’ myself since I have been doing this so long,” said Cox. According to Cox, she has worked with the fair for 16 years, but started doing her own demonstrations to show people how easy it is to make baskets and that you can make them out of anything. “The first basket I ever made was out of grapevines and it was the most crooked, most gosh awful thing you have ever seen,”she joked, “I have learned a lot since then.”
On display this year, Cox has baskets which she has woven from an array of materials including, paper, pine needles, yarn, grapevines, and plastic. “You can make them out of just about anything,” she explained. Cox doesn’t just weave baskets; she sported a pair of dangling basket earrings that she crafted while showing off pencil holders, bread baskets, rain sticks, corn cobs, garlic holders, and even Christmas ornaments. “There are so many different things you can make, and different materials you can make them from, and different patterns you can use,” she noted. “There is always something new to try.”
Cox also sells her baskets at a craft show in October, but other than that and the fair, she just stores the baskets in her garage and waits for the next chance to show them off.
Kitty Lynch is holding spinning demonstrations at the fair for the second year in a row. Lynch has been using animal fur and spinning it which converts it to wool. She then uses the wool to make clothes and blankets. “This year I am spinning rabbit fur, because there are rabbits at the fair,” said Lynch. “If I go somewhere and they have goats, I can spin that. I can spin llama or alpaca fur too, actually the only animal fur I won’t spin is dog fur because you smell like a wet dog for months!” Lynch has been spinning for more than 20 years, and before holding spinning demonstrations at the fair, she helped with the rabbit show.
In addition to the numerous demonstrations the fair will host a number of livestock and animal shows and raffles.
Jessica Younce is working with the rabbit show this year and is hoping for some last minute entries. “We only have six rabbits for the show this year and if we don’t get any last minute additions, it is going to be a really short show. Like several of the other livestock featured at this year’s fair, fair-goers can buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a rabbit.
The fair also has a variety of vendors offering delicious local foods and goodies. For additional information, pick up a Fair book at the Macon County Extension Office, call (828)369-3523 or visit http://www.themaconcountyfair.org/.