Better than ‘fair’ time, thanks to volunteers
The 2019 Woodford County Fair has come and gone, and despite weather that might have alarmed Jonah, an estimated 10,500 took in the sights, sounds and mouth-watering fair food at the county park. Here’s another important number: 150. That’s the estimated tally of volunteers who spent uncounted hours at the county park before, during and after this year’s fair. Without them, there would be no fair as we know it. Here’s how Mary Lou Watkins, president of the Woodford County Fair Association, described them: “Our volunteers and organizations … have the passion and heart to make sure that our fair continues, while others are failing. They don’t volunteer for a grand reward or recognition. They are busy with work, family and life, but give time to contribute, as they appreciate the fact that it is the oldest form of community celebrations and they want to help keep it in place for their children and grandchildren. There are too many to name, but all will be sharing ideas in preparation for the 2020 fair and what we can do better.” There are indeed too many to name, but at the risk of bruising the feelings of the vast majority of those valuable people, I’ll list a few. At the top of my list, because they put up with me pestering them for pageant contestants’ names, hometowns, and parents’ names, are Sara Stopher McCoun and Brittany Norman. Brittany in particular gets a special Sun attaboy this year for taking photos of Adorable Baby Contest winners after some fool at the Sun resembling myself failed to notice they’d moved that pageant up a week. Lord knows how much time Debbie Cox was at the fair this year – I saw her three different days. Jenny Cummins Marshall was also a consistent presence at the Huffman Pavilion, where pageants of all sorts took place most every night. Versailles City Council Member Mike (aka “Mr. 4th of July” and “Mr. Christmas Parade”) Coleman emceed some of the pageants this week, and Jailer Michele Rankin did her usual bang-up job at the Miss Woodford County Fair pageant. Other notables who lent their talents to the pageant scene include Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and Magistrate Kelly Carl (Dist. 4), whom I silently thanked Saturday night for not beckoning me to the stage for the Men’s Pretty Legs contest. Maybe next year, Kelly. I think I’d have a shot, but I’m still a little shy about sashaying down the runway, in public, anyway. Watkins said Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8) was at the fair at least four nights and helped solve several grounds-related problems. Judge-Executive James Kay was also there several times and might have had the best volunteer gig of all – he emceed the Jack Jouett House-sponsored skillet-throwing contest. (At a May 28 Fiscal Court meeting, County Attorney Alan George cautioned that the contest was not for estranged couples, as he didn’t believe the county should be liable for such an event. The Sun is unaware of any such lawsuits.) Among the 150 were seven community service workers from the Woodford County Detention Center and a few others who pitched in to patch the leaky roof of the exhibit barn. Watkins and other members of the fair association aren’t paid for their work, and their group isn’t funded by either city or county. The association splits admission proceeds with the carnival group, 50-50, and if attendance is too low, the Woodford County Fair might one day disappear, as has happened in other counties. To paraphrase the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We’ve got a good fair, if we can keep it.” So … apologies to the volunteers whose names are not in this column. You know who you are. Thank you. See y’all next year.