NEIGHBORS >> Lonoke County Fair offers big variety
Leader staff writer
The 65th Lonoke County Fair gets underway today and runs until Saturday. Fair treasurer Tommy Hignight said about 9,500 people attended the event last year.
“I think a combination of the midway and exhibits draws the crowds,” Hignight said.
Hignight served as fair president for the past four years and said his favorite part of the fair is the youth livestock exhibits.
As far as livestock goes, goats are gaining popularity, he said.
“The size of the animal is just more economical for a lot of families,” Hignight said.
The all-volunteer, 35-member fair board works year-round to prepare for fair week.
“We’re just working out all the last-minute details this week,” said James Alan Smith, who is serving his first term as fair president. “As long as you have a good fair board everything goes pretty smoothly.”
Exhibitors arrived Tuesday to register their livestock, poultry and rabbits, agricultural products, educational, home economics and woodworking entry items.
More than 400 entries are expected this year.
Home economics division items include clothing for all ages, machine embroidery, doll clothes, bridal and completely hand-sewn fine sewing. Household art in-cludes linens, pillows, thread handcraft, crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, crewel, needlepoint, em-broidery and more. There is also an original design category.
Quilting and crafts are two other categories. Most quilt categories are hand stitched.
In the craft category, handcrafted tied flies, handcrafted knives, leather crafts, pottery, sculpture, spinning, handweaving, beading and stained glass are just a few of the categories.
Items displayed in the woodworking category include bird and butterfly houses, items made from native materials, dollhouses and upholstery.
The fine-arts exhibit includes oil painting, pen and ink, watercolor, pastels, pencil, crayon and collage and that treasure of the past, China painting. There is also a junior and senior photography division.
Food preparation exhibits include cakes, decorated cakes, candy, quick breads, yeast breads and pies. The food preservation exhibits include honey, dried foods and herbs, canned fruits and vegetables, jellies, butters, jams and preserves.
Other categories include horticulture and fruits, vegetable and field crops, as well as livestock.
“I’ve been the judge of the dairy cattle for many years so I guess I’d have to say the livestock is my favorite part of the fair,” Smith said.
The fair parade, which will be led by the Lonoke High School Band, takes place at 4 p.m. Thursday. Parade participants will begin assembling in the area of Lonoke City Park (South Center and Academy Streets) from 3 to 4 p.m. There will be plenty of floats plus rodeo contestants and others with horses, mules and ponies.
Rodeo fun night will feature horse riding barrel and pole racing for contestants of all ages at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The rodeo queen horsemanship event will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by the rodeo at 7:30 p.m. The new rodeo queen will be crowned at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
The horse-and mule-team pull will start at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Lonoke County Fair Youth Talent Contest will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday. It is a qualifier for the Arkansas State Fair Youth Talent Contest, which is Oct. 13.
The midway, complete with rides from Kenny’s Fun Land, will open around 6 each evening. Armband nights are available today through Saturday. Those who purchase armbands get to ride as many carnival rides as they like those days. In addition to the rides, there will be a variety of foods to entice every appetite including barbecue, roasted corn in the shuck, hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes and lots more.
Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Rodeo admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Seniors over 62 will be admitted free to the fairgrounds and horse show on Thursday.