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Central Alabama Fair opens

Hundreds of people came out Monday for the opening night of the 61st annual Central Alabama Fair to enjoy around 20 rides, games, food, exhibits, pageants and, of course, cozy dogs.

“Get your cozy dogs” is a popular phrase to hear at the fair when walking in the gate where members of the Selma Civitan Club sell their famous corndogs.

“We come in the door, and the first thing their dad says is cozy dog,” said Wanda Brech, who was at the fair with her husband Scott and two daughters Anna and Sarah. “That’s the big thing. There’s no question of what you’re going to eat on fair night. You have to come for the cozy dogs.”

Although the cozy dogs are a highlight of the fair for many, being there and seeing old friends and making new memories are reasons to go too.

Wanda grew up in a different town and remembers going to the Montgomery fair with her mom and siblings, but Scott is from Selma and grew up coming to the Central Alabama Fair, a tradition they now carry on with their children each year.

“My husband grew up in this town … so it’s kind of a tradition for him,” Wanda said. “It’s just a family thing. The kids love it, it’s friendly and fun. We’ve come every year since they were born.”

Wanda said it’s fun attending the fair and getting to see people she hasn’t seen in a while.

“That is one of the things that is really great, you always know you’re going to see your friends, and my kids love to come and meet their friends and ride rides,” Wanda said. “My husband growing up in this town knows everyone, so it’s like you only walk a little bit and he’s saying hey to everybody.”

Wanda said it’s also great knowing that the money raised for the Lion’s Club will be used to help people in the community.

“There’s no way we would not be here,” she said. “We always know what night we’re coming, and we love to give back to the community.”

Carrie Mellown, was there with some family members and her daughter Caroline. They rode rides, played games and brought back memories from when she was a child.

“I grew up coming here. We live in Birmingham now, so we came here just for the day to come to the fair,” Mellown said. “It’s really fun because all the rides that I grew up on and rode when I was little, she’s getting to ride them.”

Mellown said it’s fun to watch her daughter laugh and smile and have a good time at the fair that she grew up at.

“I love [seeing her have fun],” Mellown said. “That’s one of the best parts of being a parent.”

On Tuesday, the fairgrounds open at 5:30 p.m. The Young Miss Central Alabama Fair Pageant will be at 6 p.m., while the Junior Miss Central Alabama Fair Pageant will follow at 7:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, the fairgrounds open at 4 p.m. for WAKA 8 Kids Day. School children in grades 1 through 12 will get in the gate for free from 4-7 p.m. if they bring a canned food product for the local food pantry. Canned and bagged dog and cat food and cat litter will also be accepted. Armbands for rides will be $20 from 4 p.m. until closing.

On Thursday, the fairgrounds open at 5:30 p.m. Country Karaoke hosted by Dixie Country will take place at 7 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places from $400 to $100.

On Friday, the fairgrounds open at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the fairgrounds open at 1 p.m. Lions Club Family Day will run from 1-5 p.m. Armbands for rides will be $20 from 1-5 p.m. The Tiny Miss Central Alabama Fair Pageant will take place at 2 p.m., while the Little Miss Central Alabama Fair Pageant will follow at 4 p.m. The 4-H Chick Chain will be at 2:30 p.m.