Fairgoers proved again this year that its "part of Warren County culture."
“I think the fair is an important part of Warren County culture.”
That was what Loren Howard, the fourth runner-up in the fair queen competition, had to say on the final night of the 2023 county fair.
“It brings the community together and it’s a good way for everybody to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.”
And there were plenty of opportunities for old and new friends alike to enjoy the event, from carnival rides to livestock shows to demolition derbies and more.
Nary a seat was to be found in the bleachers at the greased pig scramble. The grandstands were packed for the demolition derby. And was close to impossible to find a spot to stand, much less sit, at the rodeo.
All-in-all, people came out to celebrate Warren County during the event that started with a parade on July 2 and ended with fireworks a week later on July 8.
“All-in-all, it’s a small town family event,” Fair Board President Paul Owenby said.
“We lucked out, no rain or major storms or anything to tear anything apart. So that’s always a good sign.”
Mother Nature did smile on the fair this year, with only a short downpour Friday night causing any significant issues.
The weather helped drive a huge turnout on Saturday, starting with the baby contest. This year, more than 30 babies competed for the title.
“It was busy!” contest manager Abigail Owenby said. “Last year was kind of a wash. It rained that Saturday morning and that Friday evening.”
The baby contest is just another part of the fair that has become tradition.
“It’s a big deal in Warren County. It’s a big deal for everybody, especially anyone that comes to the fair,” Abigail Owenby said.
“I think a lot of people do enjoy showing their animals because they work so hard and spend so much time with them that they really get to show them off and reap the benefits from that,” Allison Duncan said. Duncan spent the week as the first runner-up from the queen competition.
The animals were the stars of the show during the fair, whether it was during showings or other competitions, like the rooster crowing.
There, one rooster separated himself out – though his owner said the rooster didn’t have a name.
“It’s something to be proud of,” Rhett Karrenbrock said after the competition. “It’s not like I did anything. It’s more the chickens.”
Then there was Olivia Pollard who had entered her own rooster in the competition. She didn’t win the rooster crowing contest, but she did win the chicken portion of the costume contest.
Pollard and her chicken were dressed up just like football players.
And while the animals may be the stars of the fair, the kids are right there with them.
“I love giving the kids their awards and just seeing the smiles on their faces,” Duncan said. “It’s been really fun.”
As fun as the fair was for Duncan, the other members of the queen’s court, and the members of the crowd, the fair board was already thinking about 2024.
“If you don’t start fairly quick, you get caught with your pants down pretty quick,” Paul Owenby said. “It’s a long process, really. I mean most people don’t think it is, but there’s a lot of time, a lot of donated hours.”
He said the fair can always use more volunteers for future fairs.
“It takes a lot of man hours and that all it is, is volunteers,” Paul Owenby said. “We can always use help. We’ve never turned a volunteer down.”
The members of the queen’s court had an even simpler message for county residents as the sun set on the 2023 fair.
“They should definitely come out next year,” said Miss Congeniality Grace Schlansker.
“Come see us,” Howard said.