In June 2 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
The 116th edition of the Russell County Jaycees Fair gets underway this Saturday at Veteran's Fairgrounds in Russell Springs, according to Dwight Richards, the president of the Jaycees.
While the fair schedule resembles that of previous years, there is one obvious difference you'll notice once you step foot on the grounds, the new steel 2,300 seat grandstand overlooking the main arena.
The structure was completed last month by Pappas Construction Company Inc. and will be in use during the upcoming fair.
Late last week, members of the Jaycees tested out the lighting at the fairgrounds to see what the view from the grandstand would look like at night and needless to say they weren't disappointed.
"It was an amazing thing to see it sitting there with the lights shining on it," Richards said. "It is not a brand new structure but it is brand new to us and we're excited about it. If we run out of seats this year I don't know where we will park everybody."
When the old wooden grandstand was demolished a couple years ago, it brought out some public outcry but it was done with the best of intentions, to keep the public safe.
"We hated to see it go as much as the public did but safety is out number one priority," Richards said. "It was to the point to where we didn't have a choice. The last thing we wanted to see was a member of the public get hurt."
With the new grandstand up and ready to go, there will be plenty of familiar events that will bring folks out to the fair yet again.
"We're really looking forward to it," Richards said of this year's eight-day event. "We started the week after the fair was over last year planning this one."
Planning and preparations for this year's fair has been hampered by an extremely wet spring as Jaycees have worked hard to maintain the grounds under these conditions, but Richards said the group pulled together and made it through the tough times.
"It has been interesting this year," he said. "Fair Manager Robbie Morgan has done a tremendous job of organizing people and it is starting to come together."
The fair, which runs from Saturday, June 4, to Saturday, June 11, has an $8 gate for the 4, 6-9, and a $10 gate for Friday, June 10 and Friday, June 11. On Sunday, June 5, there is no gate fee.
"It is a huge undertaking to put it on and it takes our entire club," he said. "We've had guys working very diligently for the last several weeks getting the grounds ready."
While some events have been omitted from this year's fair schedule, Richards said all of the big draws remain, adding that the vendor list for this year's fair has also grown thanks to Billy Grider.
"He's got a lot of contacts because of Springfest and he goes around to a lot of those things," he said. "We're going to have probably more vendors this year than we've ever had and they'll have various items for sale."
Richards said Belle City Amusements would be back again this year with their carnival, beginning Monday, June 6.
But the action begins the 4th when the ever popular fair pageants get underway. The baby show begins at 9 a.m. with Tiny Miss at 1 p.m., Little Prince and Princess at 2 p.m., Pre-teen at 3 p.m., Teen Miss at 5 p.m., Mrs. Russell County at 6:30 p.m. and Miss Russell County at 7 p.m. At noon that day the tough truck, mud bog gets underway at noon at the lower arena and at 7 p.m. the popular big car modified and stock demolition derby gets underway.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing a full fairground that night," Richards said. "I really think we might get to fill our grandstand full."
On Sunday, June 5, the car and tractor show begins at 10 a.m. while the First Baptist Church Youth Ministry Christian Rock concert featuring Live Fish begins at 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, June 6 the Belle City Carnival opens at 6 p.m. with the KOTPA Truck and Tractor Pull beginning at 7 p.m. The annual Coca-Cola Talent contest also gets underway at 7 p.m. in the grove.
Tuesday, June 7 sees the Floral Hall open at 8 a.m. with the dairy show beginning at 10 a.m. The championship mule pull begins at 5 p.m. with the carnival opening at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. the small car and lawn mower demolition derby begins with wood carving at both 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
On Wednesday, June 8 the carnival opens at 6 p.m. with the lawn mower pulls beginning at 7 p.m. and cage fighting at 8 p.m.
"Landon Helm is helping us out some with it," he said. "We're going to have a lot of local fighters."
Thursday, June 9, sees the carnival open at 6 p.m. with ATV races and OVW wrestling 7 p.m. On Friday, June 10 the state Hereford show begins at 1 p.m. while the carnival and open/4-H beef show begins at 6 p.m. The KTPA truck pull begins at 7 p.m.
The final day of the fair, Saturday, June 11, wraps up the event with a full day of activities, beginning with the 4-H shoots beginning at 8 a.m. Kids Day events, horse shoe pitching and FFA Tractor Driving and Hay Toss also begin at 10 a.m. At noon the pedal tractor pull begins while the corn hole tournament and carnival both get underway at 1 p.m. Horse racing begins at 2 p.m. with the Russell County Derby a 4:30 p.m. post time. The championship horse and mule pull begins at 6 p.m. with the championship rode beginning at 7 p.m. The fair's closing ceremony ends the 8-day event at 10 p.m.
"All of our guys have jobs, families and homes they have to take time away from," Richards said. "This is a volunteer thing. They don't receive anything from it; actually they have to pay dues to even be a member."
Richards urged everyone to remember that during the fair and thank a Jaycee for helping make this year's fair "bigger and better."