By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
August 19, 2013
When the eighth annual Carroll County Agricultural Fair cranks up tonight, Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Market Director Kevin Semones is hoping a big crowd shows up to see what the county has to offer.
“Agriculture is really important in Carroll County; it’s a $40 to $50 million dollar industry here,” said Semones. “We want to showcase what we have to offer, involve as much of the community, including churches and civic organizations, as possible, and make it an educational event for the kids.”
“On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, second and third grade students from the county schools will attend during the day as part of their classes. We’ll talk to them about food production and how to take care of their dogs, things like that. We try to schedule things that address the school system’s Standards of Learning (SOL), so as to help them out as best we can.”
The fair, which features 26 events, many of which run multiple nights during the five-night event, is located at the Farmers’ Market on Farmers Market Drive near the Exit 14, I-77 interchange. The fair runs from 5-10 p.m. tonight through Friday, noon-11 p.m. on Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Semones said the fair committee, composed of 20 members, has been working hard to make this year’s event even better than the past ones, which have drawn an average of 7,000 visitors.
“We have a really dedicated group of individuals, and we couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “We also owe a lot of thanks to other members of the community who contribute their time, the staff here at the farmers’ market, the extension service, the Future Farmers of American Club at Carroll County High School, the 4-H Club and the Carroll County Board of Supervisors.”
“The county’s support means a lot,” added Semones. “Because of (the supervisors) we can keep our admission price low. It only costs $5 to get in and that includes all the carnival rides you want to ride.”
Brinkley Entertainment Inc. will be supplying 12 carnival rides, which will be available through Sunday.
“It’s family-run business that, I think, fits our fair. We feel lucky to have them,” said Semones.
Also available on a nightly basis is the exhibit hall, barnyard and corn maze. The exhibit hall features items grown and made in Carroll County, while the barnyard allows visitors to see animals associated with this area. Those choosing to visit the corn maze, “a big hit,” according to Semones, will get a hayride thrown into the deal.
The horseshoe tournament begins tonight at the back of the lot and runs through Saturday when a champion will be crowned. Tonight’s events also include the dairy show, the beef show and a jam session with local musicians.
Tomorrow night, the biggest event is the beauty pageant in which a Miss Carroll County is selected. The poultry show is also expected to draw a lot of interest and the rabbit show is a new event.
“We had a lot of success with last year’s poultry show and we’ve had a lot of interest for a rabbit show,” noted Semones.
One of the favorite events of the fair takes place on Friday night when the lawnmower race takes place. Also scheduled are the goat show, the recipe contest and demonstrations by various craftsmen, such as a blacksmith, which will continue through Sunday. In addition, the beginning of the storytelling contest begins. It will conclude on Saturday.
Saturday has two major events with the horse pull and sheep show, the oldest animal event on the fair schedule. Also on tap are the pet show, forestry events, 4-H family fun games and a cruise-in, which is in its second year. This year, there will be a 50-50 giveaway for participants in the cruise-in.
Sunday has a wide range of activities with more demonstrations, the coon dog contest, horse show, gospel singing by local groups, and wrestling.