Greene County Fair has a hometown feel

August 2, 2014
At left, Karsten Williams, 5, and his cousin, Aaron Sturgen, 3, amuse themselves making roads and volcanoes out of the sawdust in the livestock barn at the Greene County Fair last year. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – The Greene County Fair is not one of the largest county fairs in Pennsylvania, but that may be to its advantage.

Its size and “hometown feel” are what give the Greene County Fair much of its charm and what makes it so special to county residents, said Debbie Stephenson, the fair’s secretary-treasurer.

Stephenson should know about fairs, having visited many of them across the state, both as secretary-treasurer of the Greene County Fair and as a director for Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs.

“You can really be overwhelmed by a big fair,” Stephenson said. “Our fair is the ideal size, especially for people who want to bring their children.”

The Greene County fairgrounds are of a size where parents can still let their children go off, say, to ride the rides, and not worry about whether they’ll be able to find them later, she said.

The size of the fair, the community’s involvement with it and the many people who return year after year all help contribute to its “hometown feel,” she said.

The 2014 edition of the Greene County Fair opened Saturday with the 4-H round-up and is now ready to move into high gear. The fairgrounds have been readied and the lineup of activities and events for the week are set.

“If the weather holds out, we should have a really good year,” Stephenson said. “Of course, rain or shine, it all depends on just how badly you want to come to the fair.”

Stephenson said the fair board tried to prepare a schedule of events that offers a little something for everyone. “Nobody likes the same things. I might like the truck and tractor pulls and you might like the livestock, while the children want the rides.”

By offering variety and activities aimed at all ages, “that’s what brings people through the gates,” Stephenson said.

The price of admission also is a good deal, Stephenson said. Admission remains $8 and covers parking, rides and all grandstand events. “There are a lot of things to do for just $8,” she said.

One of the new features at the fair this year will be “The Virginia Giant” monster truck. While the fair has had monster trucks in the past, this is “the” monster truck, Stephenson said.

“Everyone knows ‘The Virginia Giant.’ It’s popular enough that Mattel now makes and sells ‘The Virginia Giant’ toy truck,” she said.

The vehicle will be around Monday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.

On the agricultural side, there will be a live lamb carcass class exhibition for the first time. Live lambs will be examined using a sonogram to show the animal’s muscle, fat and bone composition.

Many top breeders use this method to assess the quality of breeding stock, Stephenson said. The sonogram images will be displaying on a viewing screen for the audience to see. The exhibition will be held at 4 p.m. Monday.

The fair also added several new home and garden categories, including one for items made with recyclables, she said. The number of entries for home and garden as well as for the livestock competitions are about on par with past years, she said.

Three nights of live music also were worked into the schedule for this year’s fair. On Monday night, Corn Liquor Saint Bluegrass Band will perform; on Wednesday night, it will be Mad Dog Rodeo Band; and on Thursday night, the Chris Higbee Band.

For those who have a love of trucks and tractors, the lawn and garden tractor pull is set for Monday, while truck pulls, featuring classic super stock tractors, open street 4-wheel-drive trucks and diesel trucks, will be Tuesday.

Farm stock tractor pulls are on the schedule for Wednesday; and horse and pony pulls are included in the lineup for Thursday.

Friday evening will be the ever-popular demolition derby and Saturday will feature truck and tractor pulls for super stock 4-by-4 trucks, limited pro/super farm tractors, open street semi’s and open 4-by-4s.

Of course, a fair is not a fair without animals and there will be plenty of them during the week, kicking off with the 4-H and open goat show Monday and the 4-H rabbit show and 4-H open dairy cattle show Tuesday.

Year after year, the 4-H market steer and lamb shows, followed by the market sale, are among the most popular events. The market steer show is scheduled for Tuesday, the lamb show Wednesday and the sale Thursday.

Some multiple day attractions include Dennis Beach’s Custom Wood Carving Show, which features chain saw wood carving and the barnyard petting zoo, both Tuesday through Saturday.

Events at the fair today include a draft horse halter show and mules at 10 a.m.; draft horse hitch show at 1 p.m.; wool and hay judging at 4 p.m. and a vesper service at 5 p.m. Today, amusement rides will not in operation and there is no admission fee.

Gates are open from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Rides operate from 5 to 11 p.m.

A special after-fair event, the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Expo. featuring hot rod semi’s, super stock trucks, super farm tractors and super modified two-wheel drive trucks, also will be held on Sept. 13.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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