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Fair board ‘rolled with the punches’

Fair board ‘rolled with the punches’
Fair board ‘rolled with the punches’
A youngster covers his ears as an entry pulls the sled during Saturday night’s truck and tractor pull in front of the fairgrounds. Photos by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Fair board 'rolled with the punches'
Brooklyn Wernert flashes a royal smile after being crowned Harrison County Fair Queen on Friday.

Set on keeping its status as the oldest consecutive county fair in the state, the Harrison County Agricultural Society, “rolled with the punches” to offer an abbreviated fair last weekend.

John Kost, president of the ag society, which puts on the annual fair, said the 161st version had many traditional events.

It kicked off with the announcement of the Little Miss and Master, Fayetta Crone, daughter of Jordan Crone of Corydon, and Jaxxon Wolfe, grandson of Robert and Paula Hughes, also of Corydon, respectfully. Both newly-crowned royalty are 5 years old.

After that announcement, the fair queen candidates took center stage in front of the grandstand. Brooklyn Wernert, a 2020 graduate of North Harrison High School was named queen, as well as Miss Congeniality.

Wernert, the daughter of Dean and Jennifer Wernert of Ramsey, is a 10-year 4-H member who showed beef cattle and chickens at past fairs. She said she had dreamed of entering the contest since she was 4; this was the only year the 5-foot-2 brunette gave it a try.

A student at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, where she is studying dental hygiene, said she was both nervous and excited but, now with the title, was looking forward to talking with people at the fair.

Wernert, who was wearing a royal blue gown, was sponsored by Ramsey Popcorn Co.

First runner-up was Katie Keibler, a 2020 graduate of Lanesville Junior-Senior High School. Her parents are Julia Keibler and Michael Keibler. She attends Indiana University Southeast, where she is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Spanish.

Lillian Wolfe, a 2020 graduate of Corydon Central High School, was named second runner-up. She is the granddaughter of Scott and Paula Hughes of Corydon and is studying business marketing and professional sales at IUS.

The biggest draw of the night was the Demolition Derby, which had 86 cars sign up for three events. The drivers had to wait while the youth had their Power Wheels derby, which was followed by a lawn mower derby.

The Demo Derby, which lasted past midnight, had “the most participants in years,” Kost said.

Saturday night’s truck and tractor pull had 50-some registrants.

“Everybody was really happy with the way it turned out,” said Kost, praising the Battle of the Bluegrass organization for putting on the event.

While the Midway was smaller than past years, Kost said he thought Brady’s Amusements did a good job with providing rides and sanitizing them between riders.

“They were very professional,” he said.

Two open class shows, sheep and beef cattle, saw “quality animals” entered in several divisions, according to the fair board president.

A pie contest had 10 entries. Proceeds from the annual auction were to be split among the three county school corporations to pay off the school lunch debt of students.

The winning pie in the adult division, baked by Jan Woertz, brought in $450 after Kent Yeager placed the top bid on behalf of the Harrison County Democratic Party.

Kost said the food vendors set up Friday through Sunday at the fair seemed happy with their sales.

The fair board, which opted not to charge a gate fee this year (seating in the grandstand did require a $10 wristband), sold T-shirts at an “outdoor office,” which Kost said he’d like to see the board continue in the future because it allowed fair-goers more opportunity to interact with board members.

While the ag society is hopeful it can return to a week-long fair in June, Kost said discussions of having a small fall festival might be in the works.

One planned fair event, bingo, was canceled due to the logistics involved for following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid COVID-19 conditions.

“There were so many little things you don’t think about that goes into things,” Kost said. “We had to make a plan for each show and everything we done.”

However, he said it was all worth it, especially for the kids.

“That why we do what we do,” Kost said. “It’s about creating memories, the tradition of doing stuff together.”

The final day of the fair concluded with a church service by Pastor Tim Williams on Sunday morning and a BBQ contest, which organizer Charles Gordon said had 40 teams entered. (Winners’ names will be published next week.)

“Overall, I thought the fair went better than expected,” Kost said. “I was really pleased with how everything turned out.”