Fair-ly enjoyable

Published 8:53 am Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday was the opening day for the Franklin-Southampton County Fair, and it did not disappoint.

Despite some things beyond their control (the weather and lack of a County Extension and 4-H agent, to name two), the members of the Fair Board have planned and created good family fun out in Courtland.

The excitement continues today with several events planned.

Luckily, on opening day, the rain created a breeze and the fair wasn’t as stifling hot as it has been in years past. Had it been hot, though, there was a perfect place to beat that heat.

The building that houses the commercial exhibits (right next to the main stage) is air-conditioned this year. And it seems like organizers have made sure to pump in the air, because it was gloriously chilly in that building Wednesday.

Also cool, but in a different way, are the opportunities to check out animals.

The livestock exhibits, though a little scarce this year because of the lack of a county extension agent, were a chance to look at hogs, feeding steer, goats and sheep, tenderly cared for by excited 4-H’ers.

A petting zoo with camels, a llama, Watusi cow, an alpaca (a personal favorite) and more is set up in a shady area surrounded by “palm trees.” In the middle of the exhibit are colorful parrots and two naughty baboons.

For animals that live closer to home, Bear Path Acres Animal Educational Center from Southampton County is showing off the newest addition to the family — a days-old baby leopard. They also have a giant frog and raccoon to look at, among other things.

Wednesday night, fairgoers braved the rain to watch the Queen’s Contest, which is apparently always a hit each year. This year, Taylor Vick was crowned queen and Faith Hewett was named runner-up.

Congratulations to all of the contestants. Those young women are not just pretty faces. They work hard to put on a good show.

Not to be outdone, some of the most gifted residents of the area took the stage later for the annual talent show. Seventeen contestants competed in five categories and had the crowds up and dancing while they sang, clogged, drummed and strummed.

Lee Lankford of Branchville reportedly has some karaoke experience, but hasn’t sung in front of that big of a crowd ever. Lankford got up there and belted out a country tune like an old pro, as did Brandon Clark of Windsor, the winner in the young adult category.

Brenda Reed, who competed in the adult category, was the picture of energy as she flitted across the stage and engaged the audience while singing a country tune by Olivia Newton John.

Sweetest moment, hands down, went to 8-year-old Dylan Buhls, who braved the huge stage to sing to the delighted crowd. He won audience favorite.

Check out Sunday’s paper for the entire list of winners.

And check out the fair for all of the things mentioned, as well as for the rides, food and music.