This year’s Washington County Agricultural Fair may be new and improved, but when it comes to the long-running summer event, the fundamental things still apply.
On its first day Saturday, there were rides to be ridden, prizes to be won, food to be nibbled and, of course, animals – maybe not enough to fill Noah’s Ark, but plenty to be seen and appreciated.
In the early afternoon, 9-year-old Chasten McConn of West Middletown aimed a hose at a goat named Babycakes to get the kid looking good and to keep it cool. Though he has not yet reached double-digits, McConn is already something of a fair veteran, according to his dad, Rod McConn.
“He showed some (goats) when he was 2 years old,” the elder McConn explained.
In a nearby barn, 17-year-old Jade Georgetti, an Avella resident, was relaxing with her family in the midst of a “dairy farmer vacation” as Holstein cows lounged in the hay. Having won supreme champion honors in 2011, Georgetti was angling for another one this year. When a visitor observed that the Holsteins were big – very, very big – she pointed out that one of them tipped the scales at a full 1,875 pounds.
Other exhibit halls displayed items that consumed less in the way of food and water and left behind less detectable odors, such as needlework and crafts, along with paintings and drawings made by young people in the county. Vegetables that looked bright and crisp were also shown off.
Saturday was dedicated to firefighters, who were granted free admittance to the fair. A fire truck parade was set to happen later in the afternoon and, in the evening, firefighters were expected to compete in a challenge designed to test their skills and endurance.
The 2014 version of the Washington County Fair is getting under way following renovations that included a fresh coat of paint here and there, according Wayne Hunnell, the fair board’s secretary. “We tried to do a little remodeling to get more people to go through the buildings,” he said. Hunnell also pointed out they updated their entertainment schedule this year, adding a national act, the Swon Brothers, an Oklahoma country duo who took third place on the NBC-TV series “The Voice” in the 2013 season. The Swons are scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. today.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners and the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency were also set to present a $75,000 check to the fair Saturday as the final installment in a 12-year $975,000 project to make improvements at the fairgrounds. Funding for the project has come from the county’s 3 percent hotel tax, according to Commissioner Harlan Shober.