By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Get ready Whitley County — it’s time for the fair.
The annual Whitley County Fair is slated for Friday and Saturday, July 19-20.
And according to Harry Alder, chair of the Whitley County Fair Board, plenty of events are scheduled for the family to do.
Farm and Home Exhibits will be set up, but Alder said those seeking to show off their wares must register on Thursday.
“The registration will be done that day,” Alder said. “It will be from 10 in the morning until 5 at the downtown Whitley County Extension Center in Williamsburg. It’s the old Extension Office.”
He added that Thursday is the setup day for the registered exhibits.
“(Participants) will bring their things in and get registered,” Alder said. “Then judging will be Friday morning.”
What will they bring to see?
“There are different categories for people to enter,” Alder said.
One category involves Food and Food Preservation.
“This includes things like jams, jelly, cookies, breads,” Alder said, adding that various home-canned items fall into this category.
The next category is the Handicraft Department, according to Alder.
“This is for those who do their knitting, crocheting and (making) quilts,” Alder explained, adding these entries are handmade items.
The third category is Arts and Crafts.
“This includes ceramics, photography, paintings and such,” Alder said.
There’s an added element to the second and third categories.
“(Those two) categories have an adult and youth division,” Alder said. “Those will be judged separately.”
The fourth category involves Crops and Horticulture.
“These are your fresh vegetables, like beans, corn, cabbage — whatever is coming in,” Alder said, adding that “flower arrangements are also included here” in this category.
The fifth and final category of participants to enter is the Honey category.
“There are quite a lot of interesting types of honey at this event,” Alder said. “They have light honey, dark, some with the comb still in them — there are many different varieties.”
The exhibits display items from a wide array, he said.
“This is a chance for (participants) to show off the things they’ve worked on,” Alder said.
Again, registration to be a part of the Farm and Home exhibits is slated for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the downtown Whitley County Extension Center in Williamsburg.
However, Alder said the exhibits are not only up for the exhibitors. People may come view these exhibits from 1-7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the downtown extension office.
Friday is the day the fair kicks off.
Alder explained that while “once upon a time” Whitley County had a “fairgrounds,” that property now houses Whitley County High School.
But the fair successfully continues — and this year the other Whitley County Fair events are slated to be held at the 3R Arena in Goldbug, owned by Wayne Perkins.
“There will be signs up telling people how to get there,” Alder explained. The 3R Arena is located off U.S. 25E in Williamsburg. Take the road next to Williamsburg Plastics on what’s known as “Factory Lane,” but also called Keller Lane. At the end of that road is Watt Creek Road — take a left on that road and “you can’t miss it.”
Friday’s lineup offers several venues of entertainment — and the kicker for Friday?
All of Friday night’s events at 3R Arena are free to the public.
From 5-9 p.m. there will be an antique tractor display.
Alder said “there’s no time limit” on how old a tractor would have to be to participate.
“We’ve had some of those steel-wheeled ones,” he said. “One guy (said he) had a steam engine type tractor — but we get some old, old ones.”
The antique tractor display is relatively new to the fair.
“We started this two or three years ago,” Alder said. “And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Registration is required to display an antique tractor. For more information on that, contact the county extension office.
Then at 6:30 p.m., the Cornhole Tournament kicks off.
Alder said this event requires a $10 entry fee for participants, then the Fair Board adds $100 to the total.
The winner of the tournament gets to take home the prize money, Alder said.
At 7 p.m., equestrians and others will be able to enjoy Phillip Perkins’ trick pony show held inside the arena.
A half-hour later at 7:30, the race is on.
Alder said at that time the Antique Tractor “Slow Race” and Barrel Roll Contest begins.
“In the Slow Race (Tractor drivers) gear down really low,” Alder explained, adding there was a certain distance to be completed. “You see who takes the slowest getting across that certain distance — it’s crazy.”
He said the Barrel Roll challenges participants.
“You roll a barrel with the front wheels (of a tractor),” Alder explained. “Then you guide it along driving the tractor, aiming it to go between two posts.”
Adler reiterated Friday’s events are free.
“There is no charge for entry Friday,” he said. “We decided that (this week).”
But for those unable to make it to Friday’s Whitley County Fair events — the agenda shows Saturday, July 20’s lineup to be as exciting as Friday’s.
Of course, the Farm and Home Exhibit will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the downtown Whitley Extension office.
Alder said the Antique Tractor exhibit will be on display from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 3R Arena.
“At 10 (a.m.), we’ll have the Mule Pull,” Alder said.
What is a “Mule Pull,” exactly?
“Mules were originally used on farms around here,” Alder explained. “They were often used in logging operations. Loggers would hook the mule to a log, and they would (get the mules moving), and the mules would take off with the logs where they needed to go.”
He said Saturday’s Mule Pull will follow that tradition.
“It’s the same concept,” Alder said. “There will be teams of mules attached to a sled.”
The sleds will be loaded with concrete blocks.
“The teams — they go and pull the sled so many feet,” he said, adding if the mule team fails to make it the pre-determined distance with that weight — that team gets eliminated.
“We’ll keep going until someone can’t reach the cutoff,” Alder said. “There are different weight classes for these, and awards will be given for those classes.”
At 2 p.m. Saturday, an Antique Tractor Competition begins.
“This has games, and obstacle courses,” Alder said.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, July 19, there will be a Horse Show.
“There are 18 different classes this year for people to enter into,” Alder said, adding there’s a new addition to that show. “Miniature horses are here — they are part of the horse show now, too.”
At 8 p.m. there will be a break in that horse show, according to Alder, so that musician Chris Ellis can take center stage.
Ellis, who has played in Nashville, Tenn., Middlesboro and several other regional locations, plays a mix of modern country-western music, according to Alder.
At 8:30 p.m., Perkins returns to the arena for another performance of the trick ponies, Alder said, then after that the Horse Show continues.
The entry fee for Saturday’s events at the arena is $5 — children under 6 are free.