New Castle News

Lawrence County Fair

August 14, 2012

My Fair Lady: Woman attends every county fair for more than 50 years — and she’s back for more

NEW CASTLE — Could there be a Lawrence County Fair without Virginia Harman?

How would anyone know? It hasn’t happened since 1957.

This week the 92-year-old North Beaver Township woman is extending her incredible streak, which spans seven decades.

As usual, Virginia is being accompanied by a small army at the fairgrounds,  which has been a second home to the Harmans ever since Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

Attending the Lawrence County Fair is as much a tradition for them as birthdays and holidays.

The only daughter of the late Park and Rubie Metz and widow of Donald “Bucky” Harman, Virginia is the matriarch of the fair’s unofficial first family. She remains an inspiration to a devoted clan that now numbers 64.

“It’s our vacation,” said Dawn Palmer, Virginia’s oldest daughter. “As far back as I can remember it always has been.”

Most of the family — which includes three sons, three daughters, 17 grandchildren, their spouses, and 20 great-grandchildren — are joining Virginia this week for their annual celebration of farm life.

Dawn said about 30 family members are staying overnight in three campers, but not Virginia.

“She needs to go home and sleep in her own bed,” said Dawn. Virginia has moved in with Dawn and son-in-law Donald Palmer.

But Dawn said Virginia will return to the fairgrounds every morning this week to join the party.

“The fair is the highlight of the summer for rural folks,” she said.


Virginia married “Bucky” in 1947, and in 1955 they bought his family’s 150-acre farm and all the cows, horses, pigs and sheep that came with it.

It wasn’t a big adjustment for Virginia, who grew up in the country.

Every year during Virginia’s 54-year run, at least one member of her family has taken part in 4-H competition.

Virginia’s six children and many of her grandchildren were raised on that farm, which now belongs to son Gary.

All of them helped raise and prepare animals to show at the fair. Six of the grandchildren have been named “Most Outstanding 4-H’r .” That’s especially important to the family since it was Bucky, who died in 1993, who launched the local 4-H program.

“It’s always a hectic time,” admits Virginia.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lawrence County Fair
  • 05.jpg Lawrence County Fair: Youths show, sell grand champion animals

    The most glorious time for 4-H youths at the fair is when their animals receive a grand champion banner. That means a lot of hard work, time and effort that went into a year of preparation has paid off, because that animal is the top one of its kind at the Lawrence County Fair.

    August 21, 2013 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Shannon.tiff Lawrence County Fair: Local women nab multiple honors

    Two Lawrence County women are among those who impressed the fair judges this year with their expertise with a needle. Eleanore Patton of the Mahoning Valley Grange won all blue ribbons and best-of-show ribbons for her entries in the adult sewing competition in previous years, and this year was no different.

    August 17, 2013 1 Photo

  • Lawrence County Fair: Clean drinking water for Uganda goal of project

    The purchase of a necklace or shoulder bag at the fair is helping give an African village clean drinking water. Richard Welch, regional director of the Ugandan Water Project, said the jewelry, purses and wood carvings he was selling this week at the organization’s booth at the Lawrence County Fair are made by Ugandan women.

    August 17, 2013

  • Cow.tiff Lawrence County Fair: Teen’s Holstein reigns supreme

    Claire Nye’s cow has a great udder. That was what judges in the dairy ring at the Lawrence County Fair determined when they presented Bessie with a banner as the supreme cow of the junior dairy show.

    August 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • 04.jpg One Last Look: Photo galleries, video and stories from the Lawrence County Fair

    It was a week to remember. Plenty of food, fun and excitement took place at the Lawrence County Fair. Relive all the memories one more time.

    August 21, 2012 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Photo Gallery, Story: Livestock auction caps county fair

    Cooler weather, blue skies and support of the agriculture industry were among reasons meat-buyers went to the fair early Saturday. But most went to put their money behind the hard-working youths who had spent the year raising animals for this big week.

    August 20, 2012

  • nichol.jpg Honors presented as fair ends

    Every year, at least two youths stand out from the crowd at the Lawrence County Fair. That is especially true when it comes to dedication and involvement in 4-H and livestock. This year, Jocelyn Kelly of Wampum and Jenny Ratvasky of Volant were considered as among those by their peers and 4-H and FFA leaders.

    August 20, 2012 2 Photos

  • Steer.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Grand champion animals selected

    The top-showing animals at the Lawrence County Fair and the youths who raised them were honored with banners and ribbons. Buyers at the Lawrence County Junior Livestock Sale Saturday paid for those winners as a way to support local 4-H and FFA youths and their endeavors.

    August 20, 2012 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Wool fashions highlighted in sheep show

    The beautiful possibilities of wool were on display Friday night at the Lawrence County Fair. About 200 people attended the annual Lead Line fashion show in the livestock arena, where children ages four to 18 and some adults modeled handmade woolen clothing in glorious variety.

    August 18, 2012

  • 04.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Olympics help farm families pass time at fair

    Even the county fair can get boring for farm kids who stay on the grounds all week. For them — and other interested youngsters — the “Farm Olympics” were born to add some fun with farm-themed contests.

    August 17, 2012 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results