CALEDONIA – There are just a few events that a person just can't miss. The Queens County Fair is one of those events that hundreds of people come out and enjoy every year.
This year marks the events 143rd year for the event, hosted by the Queens County Fair Association, and with a few different things going, a few events making their return after a few years and several site improvements, Doreen Holdright, Association secretary and event manager, expects this one to be "bigger and better" than ever.
The event kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 19 with horse and oxen events in the morning, followed by the grand parade scheduled for 2 p.m. starting at the school and ending at the fairgrounds. The parade was shifted from a Wednesday to the Tuesday, the first day of the fair.
Holdright said that the switch seemed to make a little more sense. This year's theme is, Barn Lights and Country Nights. Holdright is hoping for an uptick in parade entries this year, noting that as of a week ago, there were many entries that are making their return this year after being away for several.
Along with the regular events, such as horse and ox pulls; ladies' fry pan and men's toilet seat tosses; woodsman competition; vegetable and arts and craft displays, and of course, lots of food. This year's event listings also include several additional children's activities such as the Murphy Midway that will feature rides all week.
Also, the Kidz Room will be open daily from 6 to 8 p.m. with games and movies for the little ones to enjoy.
One of the big draws to the fair each year is the horse and ox pulls. As of last week, the stalls in the barn were almost booked.
There are close to 60 pair of oxen, including at least six youth pair; 18 pairs of horses and at least five single pulling horses ready to compete.
Holdright said a new sponsor has been found for the championship horse pull this year, offering bigger and better prizes for the winners.
On the light horse side of things, she said there were at least 50 registered horses ready to strut their stuff in the various competitions held throughout the week. It was noted that organizers revamped the program a bit to make it a bit more fun for the competitors. Holdright also said they have done a lot of facility improvements for participants to make things easier and better for them.
What would be a fair without great music?
This year's line-up features a number of great artists that will be providing music all week long, including Dave Burbine and Traditional Country; Carson and Kerri Fullerton; the Ox Bow Mountain Boys; the Rhinestone Romeos and closing off the week is Broken Circuit Saturday night in the arena.
"I think we have a pretty good schedule this year. We went a little different direction with some of our music," said Holdright. "We've kind of went with some people that our patrons probably have never heard of before."
Last, but not least, is the delicious food served up every year.
Along with the regular food served up, the smells from the dining hall will also tempt you beyond what you can handle.
This year's menu features breakfast served up each day from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by lunches featuring sandwiches, soup and more. The supper menu, starting at 5 p.m., features everything from chicken pot pie, turkey dinners, pizza to corned beef and cabbage.
This year's menu is being put together and cooked by new cook, Annette Waterman.
Holdright, who has been involved with the fair for the last 22 years, said what she likes most is the social aspect of the fair and just working and being around so many people that attend.
This year, she is keeping an eye out for any hurricanes or nasty weather in the forecast. Last year, Hurricane Fiona showed up and wreaked havoc on homes, property and the fair schedule.
So far, she said things look okay and hopes that sunshine and clear skies prevail.