Hoping for sun

A rainy Sunday morning put the damper on some activities at the 2014 Washington County Fair, but by afternoon the crowds were slowly building under partly sunny skies. A chance of rain remains in the forecast for today and Tuesday.

“We had to reschedule the horse harness racing until noon Tuesday. The track was just too wet,” said Sandy Hickey, fair board treasurer. “But we had a good day with plenty of people in attendance Saturday.”

Overnight rains left the grounds soaked Sunday morning. Roadways leading into the grassy parking lots became muddy, and a large tractor-trailer rig bearing equipment for Sunday night’s Broken Horn Rodeo became mired while trying to cross the muddy track at the grandstands area.

“The rodeo people said the show would go on, rain or shine, as long as there’s no lightning,” Hickey said. “But the live music we had scheduled in the Civitan Park area had to be canceled due to rain. So early Sunday morning we just opened the gates and didn’t charge admission for a while because there were not a lot of activities for people to do.”

When the rain stopped in the early afternoon fairgoers were once again charged the $9 admission for ages 6 and older, while 5 and under were admitted free. Seniors pay $6, with identification.

Midway rides were scheduled to open at noon Sunday, but due to the rain it was closer to 2 p.m. when amusement company Cromer United fired up the rides for an already waiting crowd.

Kay Battin from Vienna, W.Va., was among the vendors displaying wares at the fairgrounds Sunday.

“This is my second year here,” she said.”I sell candles, dresses, crafts-a little bit of everything. But when I came in this morning it was pretty wet in front of my booth and I didn’t want people standing in water while looking at these items.”

Battin asked the fair board to haul in some sawdust to fill in the wet areas and board member Jake Hall soon showed up with a load of sawdust he began spreading in low spots in front of the booth.

“This isn’t bad, thank God. Two years ago was the worst,” Hall said, referring to the 2012 county fair that was almost completely washed out by rainstorms.

Sunday’s Junior Fair poultry and rabbit judging event, housed in its newly-built quarters, was not impacted by the weather.

Megan Whalin, 17, of Waterford had the grand champion market chicken.

“This is my third year raising chickens. My sister, Janice and I raise them together. It’s a group family project,” she said. “I had a grand champion during my first year, too.”

Whalin recalled last year’s displays were set up in tents after the former rabbit and poultry barn was destroyed by fire.

“It wasn’t too bad. There was plenty of ventilation for the animals,” she said.

Nearby Maddie Treadway, 19, of Warren Township, had just received the reserve champion market chicken award.

“It’s my 10th and last year at the fair,” she said. “And this is my second reserve champion chicken, although I received a grand champion and third-place during my second year here.”

Jacinta Taulbee from Logan was one of two rabbit judges from the American Rabbit Breeders Association at the fair. She was checking our a New Zealand white rabbit raised by Danielle Weddle, 18, of Newport.

“This breed is by far the largest on display here,” Taulbee said. “They’re prized for their meat quality. In May a New Zealand went for $6,000 at the Ohio State Breeders Association show in Columbus. The buyer planned to use that rabbit for breeding purposes.”

On the opposite side of the fairgrounds, on the ground floor of the Marietta Roller Rink, Anita Beeney from Fleming, a member of the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, conducted a flower-arranging seminar Sunday.

“We just did a simple traditional flower arrangement,” she said. “People often say they can’t do a nice arrangement, but it’s really not difficult. You just have to use a couple of techniques with a little practice.”

The flower arrangements have long-standing at the fair. Beeney said the exhibits, including flower and plant arrangements as well as garden settings, has been going on for about 60 years.

The county fair continues today with plenty of events, including Fast Traxx Motorcross Racing at noon, the Junior Fair small animal sale at 5 p.m., and the Northeast Ohio Dukes Hazzard County Stunt Show at 6 p.m.

Winners

Winners of Saturday’s pie-baking contest at the Washington County Fair included:

First Place-Blackberry pie by Wanda Boring of Little Hocking. Purchased for $165 by Jeremy Karr.

Second Place-Apple pie by Susie Perry of Lowell. Purchased for $141 by Uncle Dan’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, LLC.

Third Place-Lemon meringue pie by Dawn Gutberlet of Dart. Purchased for $200 by R.C. Construction, Curt Welch.

Fourth Place-Coconut cream pie by Dawn Gutberlet. Purchased for $80 by Eric Brown.

Fifth Place-Peach/blueberry pie by Debbie Clark of Bartlett. Purchased for $102.50 by Richard Henthorn.