By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
All is fun and “fair” in Payne County this week.
People are invited to come be a part of, participate in or simply enjoy the Payne County Fair, which will be held at the Payne County Expo Center Tuesday through Saturday.
The Payne County Expo Center and fair board have been hard at work preparing for the annual event.
DeeDee Shenold, fair board member and Payne County Expo Center secretary, said preparation around the fair area has been anything but boring.
“It’s been crazy,” Shenold said. “We’ve been doing a lot of last-minute preparation stuff because there is stuff we can’t do until last minute and because of that, it is absolutely crazy around here.”
Shenold has been working on the Payne County Fair since April, and there is a lot of work that goes into planning the one-week event. She said people don’t realize how much effort fair employees and volunteers put into the fair.
Shenold said seeing it all come together is the best part of the planning process.
Mary Silvers, who has been part of the Payne County Fair since it was at Couch Park, said even though the fair requires a lot of planning, it’s one of her favorite times of year.
Silvers is also on the county fair board. She has a lot of memories of the fair through the years. She said it’s a great event to bring everyone together.
“You see the kids doing their animals and bring stuff into the building like candy and cookies and it brings a smile to your face,” Silvers said. “You have the best of both of worlds and it is a good time for everybody.”
Students around the county participate in color and essay contests, competitions Silvers said are some of the most popular at the fair. Because school started early this year, she is expecting a lot of entries.
As for the biggest event, it is probably the draft horse competition, Shenold said. Oklahoma State University wrestling team members usually help with the event.
People enjoy coming to the fair to see how strong the horses are. People can watch the draft horse event this year at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Another event that catches residents’ attention is the barnyard Olympics, Shenold said. She said the event stopped for a few years and now has resumed bigger than ever.
Barnyard Olympics, which will be held at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, has gained many sponsors, one of the reasons the event is back in action.
One event that has taken off and gained many followers through the years is the tractor pulling contest. Shenold said the arena is loud but people love the event. People can watch the tractor pulling event at 7 p.m. Friday.
Shenold said the tractor parade has been a big hit as tractor owners show off their heavy equipment.
There will be a tractor parade Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Last year, a man brought four tractors to drive in the parade, Shenold said.
The fair will feature amusement park rides during the week. Shenold said the contractor will decide when the rides will start each night, depending on how hot it is outside.
“The contractor wants the weather to cool off before people can ride the rides,” Shenold said. “We don’t want someone to get on there and burn themselves.”
Shenold said there is something for everyone at the fair, and she hopes to see everyone come and enjoy Payne County’s week of fun.
“I’m expecting it will be the biggest year yet,” Silvers said.