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Members of the Blue River All Stars 4-H Club cheer and wave "noodles" as they approach the grandstand while riding a float in Sunday's Harrison County Fair Parade. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)

Fair starts with reign, not rain


July 17, 2013 | 09:16 AM

There was rain to the north and rain to the south, and a brief, light drizzle hit midway through the event, but there was only one "reign" that mattered at the Harrison County Fairgrounds Sunday night for the opening events of the 154th consecutive annual Harrison County Fair.

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Caryn Eisert, 17, of Lanesville smiles for the crowd after being crowned queen of the 154th consecutive annual Harrison County Fair Sunday night. The winner of the Lanesville Heritage Weekend Festival queen contest in 2011, she matched a feat most recently accomplished by Morgan Wills in 1998 and Cheryl Collins in 1995 as former Heritage queens being named Harrison County Fair Queen. Caryn, a 2013 graduate of Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, is the daughter of Larry and Pam Eisert. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)
After the downtown area of Corydon dodged heavy rainfall within just a mile or two from the fairgrounds, and after a long parade full of the standard entries commonly seen here, Caryn Eisert, 17, began her reign as fair queen.

Eisert, the daughter of Larry and Pam Eisert, was first runner-up to Katherine Lyell last year in the fair queen contest, was the 2011 Lanesville Heritage Weekend Festival queen and was basketball homecoming queen at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School this past school year.

Wearing a strapless red dress, the blonde was all smiles as she posed for photos with family and friends after the crowning ceremony. She said her experience last year may have helped her this year.

"I guess I got the first-time nerves out and over with, and the second time I was a little more used to it. Going into it from Lanesville, I don't really know any of the girls competing, so coming in I had a little more confidence because of last year and wasn't as intimidated as I was before," Eisert said.

The 4-H contestant participated in three categories this year, and a bridal bouquet Eisert entered made it to next month's state fair, so she'll have to add that to the agenda when she attends the state's version of the queen contest next month.

Eisert said the 4-H exhibits are her favorite part of the Harrison County Fair, but she's ready to enjoy all that the event has to offer.

"When I was Lanesville's queen for Heritage, I know it was that you had to be at this place at that time, you have to be here, you have to be there, you have to wear this, so I know it's pretty much going to be a busy week, but I'm looking forward to it," Eisert said. "I had a lot of people at the (Lanesville) food mart wishing me good luck, and then everyone at (St. John's Lutheran Church) this morning was like, 'Good luck!' so that was really nice. It's nice to have a small town backing you."

First runner-up in the queen contest was Brooke Hoehn. Second runner-up and Most Photogenic was Savannah Eschbacher, and Sarah Engleman was named Miss Congeniality.

People may have noticed the new stage the fair board purchased for the queen contest. The old stage, which was built by Carl (Buck) Mathes, had served its purpose for many years, Todd Uhl, fair board president, said, but it was decided that the time had come for it to be replaced.

"It's newer and nicer, and it's a lot easier for people to get on," Uhl said. "(Fair board members) Jeff Byerly and Dennis Clunie found it online and drove down to Kentucky to look at it. We think it looks really nice."

As a non-election year, parade entries were down somewhat, according to Schuler Bauer Realty, which is in its eighth year of organizing the parade.

"We didn't have as many overall entries. Usually there are more walking groups, like double or triple, and this year, I think, there were only two. It was still good, but it was just down," Debbie Kaiser said.

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Brandt Shaffer, son of Jeffery and Amy Shaffer, and Harlowe Anderson, daughter of Chad and Amelia Anderson, are this year's Little Master and Little Miss of the Harrison County Fair. They were announced Sunday evening by emcee Nick Allen in front of the grandstand prior to the parade's arrival. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)
Trophy winners for the parade are: Best float — Corydon Church of Christ (Noah's Ark); Best horse-drawn unit — Harrison County Sheriff's Dept. Horse Patrol; Best walking group — Great Clips hair salon; Best tractor — David Bottles' 1950 Farmall H; and Best antique car — Josh Wellman's 1970 Dodge Powerwagon.

At the conclusion of the parade, an 8-year-old child was struck by a car and transported to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. According to a crash report by the Corydon Police Dept., the driver, Stacy Graf of Floyds Knobs, was driving slowly northbound on Old S.R. 135 near McGrain Street in Corydon after the parade when the child, who was walking with a group of people along 135, stepped in front of Graf's car. Graf was unable to stop in time, and the child was knocked to the ground. The extent of the child's injuries were not known.

Prior to the parade, the Little Miss and Little Master winners were named.

Crowned Little Miss and scoring a bicycle and several other goodies as winner was Harlowe Anderson, daughter of Chad and Amelia Anderson of Corydon. She enjoys dancing and singing and playing T-ball, basketball and soccer.

The Little Master was Brandt Shaffer, son of Jeffery and Amy Shaffer of Elizabeth. He likes to play baseball, golf and farm with his daddy. He also received a bicycle and other gifts as the winner.

Uhl said yesterday (Tuesday) that things are going really well so far at the fair. He said attendance held steady for the first full night, which featured motocross races instead of the traditional small car demolition derby.

The change, which also includes moving the quarter midget races to last night and the small car demo derby to tonight (Wednesday), Uhl said, was to lessen the workload of track workers.

"People don't think about the time it takes to turn a track from a demo derby track, then move all the concrete barriers and then move dirt to make a motocross track, then take the bumps out and make a midget track, then move the barriers back in place to make a demo derby track again," Uhl said. "We talked to the promoter and got it changed, and it's just made things a lot easier on the workers to only have to move things once. Now, we'll have a derby on Wednesday and Thursday and only have to get things cleaned up for the pulls on Friday and Saturday."

Other than the schedule, and a new ride company, there aren't many radical changes to this year's fair line-up. The 4-H horse show this year will take place the weekend after the fair concludes.

Uhl said the former ride company, Cumberland Valley Shows, went out of business, leaving the fair board scrambling to find a replacement.

"There aren't many ride companies left these days, so it's pretty difficult to find something," he said. "Thankfully, we found Carnival Tyme and, so far, we've heard some good things about the rides."

The fairgrounds had to have some quick repair work completed last week after a thunderstorm ripped through the area. A large tree in the infield was blown over onto cattle fencing near the show arena, and a privacy screen and several 4x4 wooden posts along the access road to the main entrance to the fairgrounds were blown down.

"We can't say enough about the job that Melvin Shewmaker and his crew did to get that repaired and to get the tree cleaned up," Uhl said. "He does a wonderful job for us."

Uhl noted that the weather is going to be hot the rest of the week, but there are plenty of drinks and food vendor options, including one selling deep-fried butter, and shaded areas to help keep people cool.

Temperatures the rest of the week are expected to see highs in the low-90s and a 10-percent chance of rain each day.

Parade photos

Queen contest photos

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