Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 26, 2012

Payne County fair will officially start on Wednesday

STILLWATER, Okla. — The annual Payne County Free Fair returns with plenty of fun to the Payne County Expo Center Tuesday through Saturday.

Thrill-seekers will enjoy the traditional fair rides at the carnival, which runs from 6  to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Bracelets are available for purchase every night for $22. A variety of ticket packs are available at a variety of prices.

A number of events will take place during the fair including the Power of the Past parade, which includes more than 20 tractors, with models ranging from the 1960s and older, taking part. According to the Payne County Expo Center website, the nightly parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Children and teens can participate in the coloring contest and essay open to grades 2 through 12. School administrators have entry information. All entries are due by 5 p.m. Thursday.

For a hands-on experience with farm animals, children may visit the Children’s Barnyard located on the south end of the outside barns. Last year’s barnyard included baby chickens, rabbits and donkeys. The barnyard opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. each day.

Food is a big draw at the fair.

Payne County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Education and Oklahoma Home and Community Education adviser Dea Rash said the homemade pies are a big hit.

“The highlight or the featured items are always the fruit pies and the cream pies,” Rash said. “And we have apple, cherry, apricot and peach fruit pies and cocount cream, lemon and chocolate cream pies.”

A piece of pie is $2 and a whole pie is $11. The pies have been a staple of the fair for more than 30 years, she said.

“We will sell out of cream pies every day and we normally sell out of fruit pies by the end of the fair,” she said.

A crew of workers comes in every morning to make the cream pies fresh daily. Fruit pies are prepared in advance and frozen, ready to be baked. The group made 215 fruit pies in one day last week, she said.

However, other homemade food is served including combo meals of a cheeseburger, chips and a drink.

“We also have homemade chili,” she said. “We have homemade stew and cornbread that’s cooked fresh every day, ham and beans, baked potatoes, chef salads; for the morning time, we’ll have biscuits and gravy, cinammon rolls and doughnuts.”

Rash said many people come to the fair for the homemade food.

“Our fair, in general, and our fair kitchen and offerings are extraordinary compared to some of the others I’ve been to,” she said.

Rash said they attempt to keep prices in line with what you could get for a similar meal in town.

The money raised goes toward Payne County OHCE, whose work includes sponsoring trips and other expenses for Payne County 4-H, offering two $1,500 scholarships to high school seniors and completing community service projects.

All those preparing and selling the food are volunteers, she said.

Other events at the Payne County Free Fair include the Payne County Barnyard Olympics at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at McVey Arena. Ages 5 and above may participate.

The 4-H Archery Contest begins at 6 p.m. Monday and students will show their animals in contests throughout fair week. The goat show takes place at 9 a.m. with the junior horse show beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Wednesday will see participants in the swine show, sheep show and pigeons, poultry and rabbits show. The shows will continue until the end of the fair on Saturday.

For times and more information, visit www.pcexpocenter.com or call at 377-1275.

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