Grand finale: Thousands enjoy this year’s Waterford Fair

Horses took center stage at the 2014 Waterford Community Fair as dozens of riders guided their steeds through the fun horse show Sunday morning, the final day of this year’s fair.

“It’s just a fun event for kids and adults, but this seems to be one of the better years. And turnout for the show is improving every year,” said Joan Offenberger who helped coordinate the horse show for the Waterford Community Fair Board.

Sponsored by parents of the Hobbi Horses 4-H Club in Stockport, the show includes a series of activities designed to test the skills of both horse and rider.

“For me it’s just good practice for competition later,” said 11-year-old Sheridan Gillespie from Morgan County as he sat astride his pony “Spice.”

He said the quarter horse had the fun horse show routines down pat.

“I could almost let go of the reins and she would just take over,” Gillespie added, noting Spice placed second in barrel racing events at the Ohio State Fair four years ago.

Debbie McCutcheon, 59, from Waterford, rode her horse “Sunshine” in his first fun show Sunday.

“We trail ride a lot, and a horse show is a bit different,” she said. “He’s not used to being around so many other horses.”

McCutcheon and Sunshine soon joined others for the egg toss event in which two riders on horses face each other and toss a raw egg to one another, trying not to break it. After each successful toss the horses are backed up a few feet and another toss takes place until somone drops the egg or crushes it in his or her hand.

“I won a couple of dollars in the egg toss last year,” she said. “No one wins a lot of money, but it’s fun.”

Over in the agricultural displays building, 11-year-old Nick Ellis of Waterford was picking up his blue ribbon-winning swan gourd and a pumpkin he raised that took second place.

“We’ve been doing this for several years now,” said Nick’s grandmother, Rosa Marie Ellis. “I usually enter a flower display, and Nick and his grandfather (Terry Ellis) enter their vegetables.”

Her flowers took two blue ribbons this year and included African violets and a potted geranium.

The Beverly Volunteer Fire Department was raffling off a new John Deere Gator utility vehicle and a 1957-era pedal-powered toy fire truck during the fair.

“We’ve sold a lot of tickets this year, especially on Thursday when there was a great turnout,” said Ralph Lockhart with the Beverly VFD.

He noted in the past the department has also raffled off small cars and pickup trucks during the annual fundraiser.

Monies raised this year will go toward a new $610,000 truck for the VFD.

Fair board treasurer Rhonda Turner said attendance was great for this year’s fair that officially began Thursday.

“The fairgrounds were packed on Thursday as the carnival rides were free,” she said. “But attendance has been up every day so far. Last year it rained and Sunday was a washout for everyone. We had to cancel the truck and tractor pull, which hurt the fair board, but the vendors suffered, too.”

This year Sunday morning brought sunny skies and warm weather, although some clouds were forming to the west around noon.

“We’re a little concerned about the possibility of rain, but I’ll be happy if it holds off until 10 p.m. when the truck and tractor pulls are over,” Turner said.

She also expressed appreciation for inmates from the Washington County Jail who would be on hand to help clean up the fairgrounds after the 2014 fair was over.