Though surrounded by carnival rides, games and other activities, at the heart of the Surry County Agricultural Fair is — well — agriculture.
Throughout the course of the week, many local farmers — young and old — will bring cows, sheep, goats and many other farm animals to be judged against the animals of others.
Hannah Mitchell said she and the company for which she works, Pac Cattle Company, had seven cows at the fair.
“One won for showmanship,” said Mitchell, who noted there was no prize money involved, but bragging rights were important.
Veterans Memorial Park employee Anthony Thorpe said as of Wednesday competitions for goats, sheep and cattle had taken place. Each competition had many entries, but at one time, he wasn’t sure the agricultural aspect of the fair would survive.
“The agricultural appeal was fizzling out,” said Thorpe.
However, he said through community support and the involvement of participants, new life has been breathed into the agricultural side of things at the fair.
“It has become self-sufficient,” explained Thorpe. “It funds itself.”
Of course, the fair, itself, has always been self-sufficient. It is the largest money-making event for the park, which is owned and operated by a board appointed by the community’s veterans groups. However, many visitors eat, enjoy rides and play games, never venturing up the hill to where farm animals are shown and judged.
Thorpe said a great opportunity to enjoy some of the agricultural aspect of the fair will present itself Friday at 6 p.m., when dairy cows are judged. Many competitions for other animals have already occurred.
Additionally, as of Wednesday, ducks, chickens, ponies and goats were on display in the barn areas at the park.
Thorpe said it is the first time poultry has been shown at the fair in a number of years.
The fair runs through Saturday evening. In addition to Friday’s dairy cow competition, an exhibit building containing crafts and other products is open during the majority of fair operating hours.
On Friday the fair begins at 4 p.m. Those who present a student identification card or a ticket stub from a high school football game may enter for free after 9 p.m. Recurring programs such as Racing Pigs and Dakota & Friends Dinosaurs will also continue to take place.
Saturday fair events begin at 1:30 p.m., with lawnmower races featured at 5 p.m. A fireworks display also occurs every night of the fair.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.