I have heard it said that, “All good things will come to an end if a person is willing to wait long enough.” One of those times did occur last Saturday evening when the 2019 version of our Jefferson County Fair came to its conclusion. I have often written about the things that we have planned for the year to follow months of preparation. This year, it’s already over and I have a chance to share with you, some of the actual things that happened and you can decide if the results were good.
While the Fair Board was reviewing a number of the previous year’s track events, we were approached by Brookville’s Jean Parker, a former resident of the Reynoldsville and Brockway communities, to work with her on a memorial to her late husband Jack. With board approval, she began to develop a plan with Red Curry of Cypress Clocks & Gift Shop, who was a close friend of Jack’s, to create the “Parker’ Prayer Place” to be located near the ticket booth by the front gate. The little chapel is done in white with a red steel roof topped with a little, white cross. It is meant to be a place for quiet meditation to help ease a person’s heavy, mental burden in conversation with a personal Lord.
Meanwhile, my house became a meeting place for a fair committee to develop mailings for fair sponsors in December of ’18 because we’ve learned that some people like to make late-year donations that can be included in that year’s income tax report. Then there is another committee that is invited to my place to work on another mailing in February to vendors from the past year who had the variety of fair food stands along with all the other odds and ends that vendors carry. Meanwhile a third committee went to work on possible entertainment for the Community Stage and around the grounds, too.
We had promised additional entertainment beyond the popular “Pig Races” from previous years that had asked to be dismissed for several years so they could try out several new venues. Last year we had found the Circus Stella, which became quite popular with acrobatics with rescue animals performing circus stunts. This year another show came along that is known as the Circle C Petting Zoo with unusual animals from another part of the world. We found it is okay to pet a camel, kangaroo or donkey but it is not recommended to pet a porcupine. Next year, we will be searching for some other acts and, who can tell at this point, maybe the Racing Pigs will be back, or something even better!
The first Sunday turned into a handful for the Community Stage but everybody was ready for it. At 1 p.m. our personal long-time friend Jean Parker was accompanied to the stage by her friend, state Rep. Cris Dush, and her pastor, the Rev. Chuck Jack of the E.U.M. church for the formal dedication of the Parker Prayer Place. After a few brief, and most appropriate, scriptures and other comments, Jean retired to the chapel to meet the public. She spent each afternoon and early evening there all week.
The regular opening ceremony for this year’s fair followed under the direction of our emcee Karen Uplinger of Dazzle U Productions who introduced the Rev. Christopher McCloskey of the Brockway Presbyterian Church. Along with his appropriate message, he also sang along with the Village Voices of Brockway under the direction of Betsy Bond Delairre. This group are also based and rehearse in Christopher’s home church and provided their style of entertainment for the Senior Citizens Luncheon later on Thursday (plus Sunday evening, July 21st, in the park back home in Brockway).
Next came a special presentation of “Fair Person of the Year” to Bob Shields of the Stanton area, just south of Brookville. Soon after the Jefferson County Fair was relocated from Sykesville to Brookville, Bob was one of the early members named to the fair’s board of directors and served in that capacity for three five-year terms retiring in 2012 after which he has continued to work in the fair’s own kitchen during most of the summer events.
Along with his full-time job with the Columbia Gas Company, Bob had a strong interest in making his own maple syrup out of “Shield’s Sugar Shack” and has been a member of the NBC Chorus and Barbershop Quartet of the New Bethlehem/Brookville/Clarion area for 50 years. This is a group of people who travel the Tri-County Area sharing their musical talent of singing and entertaining for schools, churches, organizations and community events.
He is a member of the Stanton United Methodist Church where he has served in all positions as needed plus carpenter, plumber, electrician, and mechanic who will conquer any task but never wants any credit for doing what needs done. In the words of his good friend, neighbor and fellow church member Diane Kiehl, Bob Shields is one of the most caring and helpful individuals you would ever want to meet. He has a heart of gold and is always ready to lend a “helping hand.” We readily agree because we’ve seen him in action.
Finding new people such as Bob Shields has become a real concern for those of us who have been with the Jefferson County Fair. Some of us are wearing “thin” both physically, mentally and emotionally as the years roll by. It is a very rewarding life and we are very pleased with the development of the fair, the fairgrounds, the programs of the fair itself, and the monthly events that we have hosted. As you recognize that you have talents similar or greater than ours, please contact a board member and let us know you are available. We need you, too.
We were all very pleased to see a large turnout of candidates for this year’s Royalty Pageant on Sunday afternoon with 22 entries led by our 2011 Fair Queen Logan Taylor Snell as Master of Ceremonies and a number of other past queens in the background to keep things organized and moving along. With Queen Rylee Welsh of Brockway, Junior Queen Claire Haines of Brookville, and Princess Anna Brubaker of Brockway in the lead, most of the girls with a title took tours around the grounds when possible to greet fair participants and visitors throughout the week. Way to go, girls!