New Castle News

August 13, 2012

Photo Gallery, Story: Lawrence County Fair opens for week-long run

Carol Colaizzi
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Visitors to the Lawrence County Fair will see the finished product they’re used to. But that doesn’t happen overnight.

While everything is in place Monday, the grounds on Route 108 — where the fair continues through Saturday — were a beehive of activity last week and over the weekend.

Displays were set up, animals arrived, fruits, vegetables and flowers turned in, baked goods and crafts created, and everything judged before this morning.

On Saturday morning, Julie Pietsch was working on a display for the Little Beaver 4-H Club. The director of the county’s oldest 4-H club pointed out the organization is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

The county’s 4-H Teen Council has put together a display with a giant birthday cake to celebrate that milestone.

Bryan Dickinson, Penn State Extension educator for 4-H and youth, said the council — for youngsters ages 12 to 18 — is different from most of the clubs. Its focus is on development and leadership skills.

Elsewhere, area residents were unloading the fruits of their labor for judging. Among them was Donna Drake of Slippery Rock. As she filled out forms for flower entries, she noted her children were looking forward to the fair — all 16 of them.

And as the tags were attached to various flower entries, Melissa George and Heather Deems were placing them on shelves to await the judging. The two women said they’ve been volunteering for years, but this was their first time working with the flowers.

George said it seems the unusually hot and dry summer has cut the number of entries, but noted one family had been unloading their floral specimens for nearly two hours.

Carol Reichert was also in the barn, arranging vegetables by category.

She, too, said entries are “definitely down” — although there were more than she had expected.

Reichert said she believes the drought had more of an effect than the heat, but added last week’s hard rain and hail damaged a lot of flowers that might have otherwise been entered.

Master gardener Jo Altman was waiting for Reichert and the other volunteers to finish setting up.

Altman, who was going to be one of the judges for fruits and vegetables, pointed out what might be mistaken for Easter eggs.

Although they looked like they had been dyed, Altman said the eggs had come from Araucana chickens. That breed lays eggs that are pale blue or pale green, she said, adding this is the first time in her 35 years at the fair that she’s seen them.

One of the newer categories drew competitors from Ohio. John Hively of New Waterford brought six wines including reisling, mint and red raspberry, made with berries from his patch.

He noted he used to show cattle at the Lawrence County Fair in the 1970s and ’80s and this is his third year entering wine.

Accompanying him for the first time was Gerald Mincks. The Salem resident had brought a reisling and a red.

The colored eggs aren’t the only never-before-seen entry at the fair. Visitors to the craft displays will see purses made from wrappers, including a nothing-but-Doritos-bags bag.

Lori Hites, director of the fair’s home economics department, said that has prompted officials to add a recyclables category next year.

“It kind of shocked us,” she said of the purses. “We’ve never seen anything like this before.”