The 25th annual Walker County Fair got under way at 8 a.m. last Friday with a Walker County Fair Association trail ride and a full schedule of events for family and friends.
WCFA President David Moorman said he encourages Sam Houston State University students to participate in the festivities as a way to enhance their college experience and contribute to community.
“We love anybody who wants to come out and volunteer or just enjoy the fair,” Moorman said.
Moorman said that besides being a lot of fun, the fair is about a lot more than just entertainment.
“This is the largest volunteer organization in the county,” he said. “It teaches kids about life and responsibility.”
According to Moorman, today’s festivities include rabbit meat pen judging at 9 a.m., followed by an appearance by Lanky the clown on the midway and a cameo from Elsie, the Borden cow in the livestock barn.
Former WCFA President Carol Smith said the entertainment at the fair should entice students of all ages to come out and enjoy.
“We certainly hope the entertainment at the opening and at the end of the fair would interest students,” Smith said. “If we have a well-known entertainer we get a really good turn out. We try to have entertainers that college students would be interested in.”
Smith said that in the past, students have used the fair to do surveys and other projects. However, it is their contributions that mean the most, she said.
“Students benefit the fair and its revenue. In general, we think it is a good idea to involve students from the agriculture department,” she said.
Smith said university volunteers would provide help in the ticket booth and at ticket gates.
Entertainment is not the only reason to visit the fair this year. Smith said bringing your appetite is essential if you are going to fully experience the fair.
“The barbeque cook off is a party atmosphere. Many events are ‘BYOB’ so people of legal age can drink in a contained area,” Smith said.
This year, the barbeque cook off will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with the chili and barbeque cook off awards being handed out at 4 p.m.
Tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Buford Bear Puppet Truck roles through the midway while the Calhouns Stage Show performs. At 6 p.m., the open barrel racing competition begins.
One of the most important events of the fair is the Junior Livestock Sale on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds, with a buyer’s presale party in the main building beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Another important part of the fair is the accompanying carnival.
Beginning today and lasting until Friday, the carnival will be open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Armbands are $15 each for the rides, and tickets are 75 cents each.
Also on Saturday, Jana Jay will perform on the midway stage.
2003 marks the 25th anniversary of the Walker County Fair. It began in 1978 when parents, educators and community volunteers felt there was a need to resume a meaningful youth-centered activity that had not existed since 1953.
“An Investment in Youth Through Community Involvement” is the mission and motto of the WCFA. Over 12,000 young people have been involved with the fair and rodeo, and have brought in almost $4 million in youth project sales.
The fair will be capped off with a 25th anniversary party in the main building that runs from 7:30-11:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Smith said what started out as a family affair with just one tent has turned into a full-blown, heel clicking good ole time.
“We just got together and rolled our sleeves up,” Smith said. “A lot of former students grew up out here.
“It still has the feel of an old time county fair: good hometown environment, safe environment,” she said. “It kind of turns into a family reunion.”
The Walker County Fairground are located on Highway 30 west, on the left.
For more information regarding the Walker County Fair, directions, its history or a schedule of events, visit the Web site at http://www.walkercountyfair.com.