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Arts & Entertainment ‘Home Grown Goodness’ at 59th Macon County's fair

Franklin High School teacher Mrs. Houston’s class dropped by the Macon County Fair on Wednesday to check out the exhibits and the accomodations for the goats they will be showing at the special needs livestock show Thursday at 10 a.m. in the show arena. Other Macon County school children will be visiting the fair on Thursday and Friday. The fair is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Photo by Betsey GooderThe 59th annual Macon County Fair got under way on Wednesday at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center in Franklin. This year's theme of, “Home Grown Goodness” can be seen throughout all the exhibits at the fair and according to Tex Corbin, who has been with the fair for 44 years, is intended to promote Macon County's culture.

“Folks in Macon County who grow up here and participate in the fair each year are really getting behind the theme of ‘Home Grown Goodness,’” said Corbin. “From things being produced in the county like crafts and livestock or the people who were born and raised here, that's what we want this year to be about.”

“Members of the Fair Board Catalog Committee chose this theme to reflect our roots and how our community is moving back towards appreciating locally grown and processed goods and foods,” said fair volunteer Devon Deal.

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According to Corbin, after this year's fair is over, it will make the 44th fair he has been a part of. He has served on the Board of Directors since 1972.

“There were several years that me and Mr. Proffitt put the fair on dang near by ourselves,” said Corbin. “From putting together the fair book, to boarding all the livestock, we did it by ourselves just so Macon County could keep the fair going.”

Watching the fair evolve over the years, Corbin noted that the one thing that keeps it successful is its uniqueness.

The Macon County Fair offers a glimpse at farm animals that many do not get to experience on a regular basis. Photos by Vickie Carpenter

“I have always liked the fair so much because it is pretty unique to the county,” he said. “We haven't had to move toward a commercial fair with carnival rides and stuff but instead we are still rural. The free admission and fun competition keeps people coming back each year.”

The Macon County Fair Board of Directors held a ceremony on Wednesday, honoring those who have dedicated time and effort in the behind the scenes operation of the fair. Honored for their preparation of the fair’s Friday barbecue supper for the last 20 years was (L-R) Willard Barrett, Bennie Reynolds, Bill Fouts and, not pictured, Jeff Barrett.It is that sense of ownership and dedication that Dennis Conley, the Board of Director's Treasurer, who along with Sherry Cook and Donnie Seagle, co-chair's the Board, believes will be the highlight of this year's fair. “The highlight of the Macon County Fair is not one special event, but a brief period of time when all Maconians can meet at a place to see their neighbors, friends and to be able to make new friends at no cost to them,” he said. “With free admission, many families come for the entertainment, to see the crafts, animals, displays and learn about something new.”

The fair, which is put on each year by nothing but volunteers, has been organized year after year by the same group of people. “We have changed directors a time or two over the years, but the same people come back each year to help put it on,” he said. “At times, I have seen children who once were here presenting their school projects or livestock come back years later with their children to present. I have seen four generations of a family participate at the fair. That is what makes is special.”

Corbin noted that each year the fair has continued to grow and this year there is a 10 percent increase in the number of exhibitors at the fair, as well as a larger variety of both commercial and other booths at the fair. “Even with the economy the way it is, you still have people wanting to exhibit,” he said. “This year we also have more children and livestock than in years past.”

Violet Cox and Edna Earl Gibson were honored for the contribution and hard work in the crafts section of the fair. Photo by Betsey GooderEach year Devon Deal works closely with the youth at the fair. “As an agriculture teacher, we are heavily involved with the youth and getting them involved with showing animals,” said Deal. “The Ag Department at the high school currently has 48 students showing various animals from dairy heifers to goats to beef steers and heifers. We are also asked to assist in getting the fairgrounds, buildings and displays ready for fair time.”

“We have more animals being shown in the goat show as well as a new chicken show,” said Deal. “The community support has been amazing.”

Although there has been a decline in the big market steers that are shown at the fair, which has been a favorite of Corbin throughout the years, he said the livestock shows are still his favorite part of the fair.

The annual fair book is used to highlight members of the fair community who have worked hard at holding the event each year. This year's fair book honorees include Bruce Hedden and Lloyd and Mike Swift.

“The Swifts have been instrumental in building the rabbit show and exhibits at the fair. Without them we would not have the show we have now,” said Deal. “Mr. Hedden has been very active fair board member. Most Fridays of the fair you can catch him at the barbecue tent working on the meat for the meal on Friday nights. He has always been eager to help and if you are lucky, he may sing you a song.”

In addition to the fair book honorees, the Board of Directors gave special recognition to members who have been dedicated to the fair during the opening ceremony on Wednesday. “This year we are honoring, Bill Fouts, Bennie Reynolds, Willard Barrett and Jeff Barrett for preparing the barbeque for the barbeque supper on Friday night,” said Conley. “They have been doing this for at least the last 20 years and it has made our barbeque supper a major success and one of our best fundraisers for support of the fair. In addition, we are honoring Violet Cox and Edna Earl Gibson for their long contribution and hard work in the crafts area of our fair. The demonstrations and crafts in the "D" building are one of our most attractive and visited areas of the fair. These women have been a major influence of this area.”

According to Corbin, planning the fair is a year long process which starts in October of each year. “The board meets in October and critiques the fair and begins throwing out ideas for the next one,” he said. “The real planning and shaping of the fair begins in January.”

With volunteers planning the fair each year, the funding for the event comes from three main fundraisers. The largest fundraiser is the barbecue supper that is held on Friday. “We serve a barbecue supper and serve until we run out,” said Conley. “Last year we served between 800 and 1,000 people.”

The “Best Cake in Macon County,” has become another big fundraiser for the fair. People enter their cakes and after they are judged and given awards, are auctioned off on Saturday at noon.

The harvest sale on Sunday, which is comprised of donations of crops and goods from exhibitors is one of the ways the fair makes the money needed for operating costs.

The 59th Macon County Fair is being held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center, 441S, in Franklin, Sept. 12-15. The fair is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a horse show scheduled for Sunday beginning at noon.


 

2012 Macon County Fair - Schedule of events

Thursday, September 13
9:00 a.m. - Doors Open to Public
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Preschoolers Fun Day at the Fair
10:00 a.m. - Special Needs Livestock Show, Show Arena
5:00 - 6:00 p.m - Dairy Show, Show Arena
5:00 p.m. - Horsemanship with Phil Rogers, Horse Ring
6:00 p.m. - Cross-Cut Saw Demonstration, Field
6:00 p.m. - 4-H Lamb Show, Show Arena
7:00 p.m. - Rabbit Show, Rabbit Area
7:30 p.m. - Goat Show, Show Arena
9:00 p.m. - Doors Close to Public

Friday, September 14
9:00 a.m. - Doors Open to Public
3:00 p.m. - until - BBQ Supper, Pavilion
4:00 p.m. - until - Pedal Tractor Registration
5:00 p.m. - Entertainment, Pavilion
6:00 p.m. - Pedal Tractor Pull
6:30 p.m. - 4-H Lamb Costume Contest & Obstacle Course
9:00 p.m. - Doors Close to Public

Saturday, September 15
9:00 a.m. - Doors Open to Public
10:00 a.m. - Market Steer Show, Show Arena
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. -"Thank God for Kids" Festival, Field
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Registration for “Best Cake” Contest, Pavilion
11:00 - 12:00 noon - Judging for "Best Cake" Contest, Pavilion
12:00 noon - Auction for "Best Cake" Contest, Pavilion
1:00 p.m. - Beef Heifer Show (followed by Feeder Calf Show)
2:00 p.m. - Tractor Driving Contest, Field
5:00 p.m. - Horsemanship with Phil Rogers, Horse Ring
7:00 p.m. - Market Steer Sale, Show Arena
8:00 p.m. - Market/Performance Hog Sale, Show Arena
9:00 p.m. - Doors Close to Public

 





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published: 10/18/2013
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