The 139th-annual Fayette County Fair began Sunday with Jordan Bernard being named the 2018 Fair Queen.
The competition was stiff as the field of seven in early June was narrowed to three by the end of the month at the annual Queen’s Tea on June 27. These three finalists were welcomed by a crowd at the McDonald’s Grandstand on Sunday afternoon during the opening ceremony.
The 2017 Fayette County Fair Queen, Marissa Sheets, crowned the three ladies as members of the court, naming Bernard queen, Victoria Schappacher as an attendant and Haley Copas as first attendant.
“It is really amazing (to be the queen),” Bernard said. “I am just so honored to have been selected out of the three wonderful candidates. Both of those girls are amazing, and I am excited to be working beside them. I have never showed an animal myself, so I want to support all of the kids who don’t show animals because I know that they can feel left out during fair week sometimes. But then also those kids who go into the arena to show just have that confidence that they can do it. I am really excited to work with horses. I really like the horses, and I am looking forward to be able to work with them some more.”
During the opening ceremony, Fayette County Agricultural Society President Bob Schwartz and vice president Doug Marine gave two deserving individuals the Jim and Eddie Kirk Fair Supporter Award. The first to receive the award was Ron Burke, a Fayette County Ag Society director since 2008 who has volunteered countless hours at the fairgrounds for an assortment of jobs and events. Burke, who was able to attend the ceremony on Sunday, has been struggling with health issues.
This year two awards were presented. The second individual honored was a past president and board member who served for 36 years, the late Steve Wayne Baird. Baird — an advisor for the Wayne Progressive Farmers — could be found working diligently in the office trying to set up the open class cattle shows, according to Schwartz. His wife, Marsha Baird, accepted the award.
“He was a mentor to me and a mentor to many of the people on the board,” Schwartz said. “He was nothing but class and a tremendous worker. Many times you would find Steve Wayne Baird in the cattle barn. He was known for wearing his crisp, western shirts, cowboy hat and his nice cowboy boots. One of his joys was arranging special rides on the giant ferris wheel for his special friends.”
The final award to be given out went to McKenzie Riley, the Junior Fair Board president voted in by her peers. Amanda Ivey, Junior Fair Coordinator, presented Riley with the “gavel,” and spoke about how finding a leader in this great group of kids isn’t easy for the board to do, but Riley has done a great job in the position.
Stay the Record-Herald this week for more coverage of the 2018 Fayette County Fair.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy