AFTON – Unlike country music star Toby Keith, the 118th Afton Fair can be as good as it once was, organizers say.
The “little hometown” fair, which had fallen on hard times in recent years, opens at 4 p.m. today and runs until Sunday night. New fair board volunteer Dennis Fletcher says they’ve worked hard to breath life back into the event.
“We’re a new board and we want to try something new every year,” Fletcher said. “This year we’ve tried to touch on something for everybody.”
The board re-emphasized the importance of community, President Jeanette Grover said. For starters, this year all grandstand shows are free – including Thursday’s performance by former American Idol contestant and country music up-and-comer Bucky Covington – with the price of admission. The youth dairy and livestock shows were also reinstated after having been absent the two previous fairs. Grover said the main changes have come from the ground up.
“We’re rebuilding faith in the community because we would like to see the fair return to its ‘glory days’ as a country fair – that’s our goal,” Grover said. “With the new board we have, they are all dedicated to seeing the fair succeed, so there have been many hours of painting, cleaning, building and repairing the Park. It is a hands on thing.”
Admission is $6 per day for ages 18 and up, $3 for ages 13 through 17 and for anyone 12 and under it’s free. Season passes for all ages cost $15.
Today is “Community Appreciation Day,” featuring a community hymn-sing at 4 p.m. and a car show at 5 p.m. Admission and rides are free until 8 p.m.
The regular fair schedule, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., will start Wednesday and carry on the rest of the week. Special events include two nights of demolition derby, tractor pulls, a Junior Idol Contest, the Fireman’s Parade, various musical performances, including Covington’s.
“He’s an up-and-coming singer,” said Fletcher. “He’s moved up the charts as we’ve been talking.”
Daily events are as follows: Chainsaw wood bear carvings, Children’s Activity Center, horse shows, antique tractor demonstrations, pony rides, animal exhibits, spinning and weaving loom displays, and other assorted demonstrations. Fletcher added that there will also be all new Midway games and rides this year.
“They’ve spent a lot of time and worked very hard,” said Afton Supervisor Robert Briggs. “We’re hoping they have a real good year this year.”
The Afton Fairgrounds are located on state Rte. 41, just south of the Village of Afton. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.theaftonfair.com or call the fair office at 639-1525.