WIND RIDGE – Much in the world has changed since the Jacktown Fair began in 1866.
At the first Jacktown Fair, people didn’t even know what a telephone was, let alone a cellphone. Women wore long, homemade dresses with stockings, and everyone was celebrating the end of the Civil War.
Small community fairs like the Jacktown Fair were common during these times but have fallen to the wayside or consolidated into larger county fairs.
But unlike the others, Jacktown Fair has pushed forward.
It returns Tuesday in its 148th incarnation as the longest continuing fair in the United States.
“I am looking forward to a nice crowd,” said Walter “Buck” Burns, president of Richhill Agricultural Society, which organizes the fair. “I want things to be up this year. We have a good schedule and a real good mixture this year.”
Starting off the events for the week is the kickoff parade at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will be followed immediately by the crowning of the 2013 Miss Jacktown Fair Queen.
Burns credits the success of the fair to good advertising, a great name and plenty of volunteers.
Due to numerous requests, the UTV tough side-by-side contest has been brought back this year and will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The event costs $10. “We had plenty of people asking where the event was last year, so we thought we would bring it back. I am hoping it works out,” said Burns.
This event consists of utility vehicles that have been converted to two passenger four-wheelers that run through an obstacle course. “Racers are timed on the course; they do not not compete or race against each other,” Burns said.
The sixth annual Jacktown Idol also has become a big hit at the fair. The vocal talent competition is fashioned after the successful “American idol” television series. Round one of the competition begins Tuesday at the upper grandstand and runs every night at 8 p.m. until the finale Friday.
The week will also include live bands such as the Stickers and the Ruff Creek Band. Their Saturday concert begins at 6:30 p.m. with the Ruff Creek Band and continues at 8 p.m. with the Stickers.
Other musical performers will grace the fairgrounds stage each night, and on Friday, the fairgoers not competing in Idol will have their own shot to shine on the karaoke stage.
The fair will also have the livestock shows, rides and entertainers that people have come to enjoy.
“Everything seems to be up this year,” said Burns.
He expects attendance, livestock entries and event entries to rise.
The only thing that could hurt that goal is the weather. Lately in Greene County, the weather has been nothing but humid and rainy, and Burns is afraid it might continue in that fashion during the week of the fair.
“The weather can make or break you when talking about a fair,” said Burns. “I hope the sun is shining – that would be new.”
People can expect the week to be filled with lots of food, and even better company.
As the Jacktown Fair slogan says, “You can’t die happy till you’ve been to the Jacktown Fair!”
The judging schedule will be as follows:
• Tuesday – Floral Hall, 9 a.m.; rabbits, 4 p.m.
• Wednesday – Horses, 9 a.m.; beef, 10:30 a.m.; goats, 1 p.m.
• Thursday – Sheep, 8 a.m.; dairy cattle, 2 p.m.
• Carnival rides start at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will begin at the same time Wednesday through Friday, with a 4 p.m. start on Saturday.