Here comes the Lions Club Fair

Published 11:21pm Saturday, September 18, 2010

When I was growing up in the Selma of so long ago we called them “Street Fairs,”

wonderful, exciting, carnival-like events that came to town once yearly, bringing with them Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, bingo games and jangling music one could hear all over town. They were set up in different places, sometimes just across the old river bridge in a then-vacant field, sometimes on the other side of town, again in a vacant field between Broad Street, pine trees and Blue Girth Swamp.

My sisters and I loved them, loved the noise, the fragrance of broiling burgers and the heart-stopping joy of the merry-go-round as it dipped and rose again and again. Even the merry-go-round, although a bit childish we felt, was an integral part of our joy.

But that was far in the past. For what is now 54 years, Selma and our neighboring towns have enjoyed the annual Central Alabama Fair in conjunction with the Annual Industrial Show. Now, it is that time again:

At 5 p.m. Monday, October 4th, the doors of Selma’s Old Armory open for admission to Lion’s Fair Park, where the 48th Central Alabama Fair will entertain, educate and reward participants daily through Saturday, October 9th. Sponsored by the Selma Lions Club and the Alabama Department of Agriculture Center Board the Fair is observing its 54th anniversary this year in coordination with the 58th Annual Industrial Show. And as always, the Fair offers something for everyone.

Gate prices are: Under 6 years, free; ages 6-12 $3; and 13 and up $6. Special events at the Fair include Carnival rides, with Archway Amusements open on the Midway. And as always, the farm animals and petting zoo will be open in the farm arena every day.

On Monday the fairgrounds open at 5:20 p.m for Youth Night with armbands for rides at a cost of $14 from 5 p.m. until closing. At 7 p.m. The Grasshopper String Band of Alabama will play Bluegrass.

Tuesday the Pepsi-Dixie 100 Miss Central Alabama Fair Beauty Pageant will be held at 7 p.m.. The Fair Grounds open at 5:30.

Wednesday the Fairgrounds open at 2 p.m. for WAKA 8 Kids Day. From 2-5 p.m. students through high school are admitted free at the gate. Featured will be face painting, Clowns by New Kids on the Block, Balloon Animals and free Pepsi.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday a musical will be performed in the Armory by Meadowview and Cedar Park Elementary students, directed by Ms. Martha Harris.

On Thursday the Fairgrounds opens at 5:30 p.m. for Dollar Days with reduced prices at the gate and on ride tickets. A special attraction will be Eddie Salter, two-time champion turkey caller, who has been inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame. He will appear at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion.

Friday, Fairgrounds open at 5:30 p.m. A special feature is the Adult Hot Dog Eating Contest in the outside exhibit hall at 6:30 p.m. The Youth Hot Dog Contest is at 6 p.m. in the exhibit hall.

Saturday, Fairgrounds open at 1 p.m. for Lions Club Family Day (1 til 5 p.m. only), with $14 armbands available for rides from 1-5 p.m.

At 2 p.m. Tiny Miss Central Alabama Beauty Pageant, (3-4 years old) will be held.

At 4 p.m. Little Miss Contest (5-6 years old) will take place.

Face painting and clowns will also be featured. A special event offered at 4 p.m. is the Goat Show, sponsored by the Central Alabama Fair. And all week visitors to the Fair will be able to visit the special items entered for judging: everything from homemade jams and jellies, canned vegetables and fruits, truck and field crops, baked goods, candies, needlework and sewing, crafts, art and ceramics will be entered. And it is in these items made and submitted by people of the area that the true heart of Central Alabama Fair beats. More than $17,000 in premium money will be awarded.

Fair officials are: Ed Green, president; John Haskell, Robo Robinson and Robert Key, managers; Armory and Midway Booths, Dick Dunaway; Arts & Crafts Exhibits, Carolyn Dunaway; Animal Exhibits, Ed Green; Miss Central Alabama Fair, Beth Pearce; Little Miss and Tiny Miss Fair, Tracie Haskell and Melissa Vardaman.

As stated in the Lion’s Club special fair edition to be published in The Times Journal, more than $17,000 in premium money items, with the exception of farm animals, will be awarded Saturday for the winning entries in each category. All entries must be products of Dallas and surrounding counties and have been made, grown or raised by the exhibitor within the past 18 months.

Classes include: Canning (vegetables, jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, relishes and fruits; Truck and Field Crops; Baked Goods; Needlework and Sewing; Ceramics both stained and glazed; Handcrafts such as painting, weaving, jewelry making, decorative items, pottery and even flower arrangement. There is also a photography category.

There is also a Youth Division for those up to 19 years of age and with the same categories. One of the most popular is that of Youth Farm Animals, where all manner of chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and lambs may be found, along with the poplar Petting Zoo.

Anyone interested in entering an exhibit will find detailed information in the Fair Edition at a number of local sites, among them WHBB, WDXX and Alexander Broadcasting; the Public Library, the Centre for Commerce and the Old Depot Museum

And as always, a number of local organizations have food booths at the Fair, offering everything from Polish Sausage to Cozy Dogs and barbecue. Enjoy!

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