The president of the the Saline County Fair Association is excited for the upcoming Saline County Fair and Rodeo, which will be Tuesday through Saturday at the Saline County Fairgrounds.
"It is kind of the start of fall in Saline County," President Mollie Wright said. "It is Saline County's oldest festival."
The Association has determined this is the 111th year for the fair. The theme this year is The Fair Necessities.
The Saline County Fair Pageant was held Saturday at the Royal Theatre to select this year's fair royalty from Baby Miss and Mister up to Sr. Mrs.
"We hope to utilize our pageant winners more this year," Wright said.
Along with the pageant, she said the fair offers many ways for the people in the community to show off their talents and abilities.
Anyone wishing to enter something in the fair, from animals and horticulture to food and crafts, must drop off their entries between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday. Wright said the exception will be baked goods, cut flowers and any other category where the entry must be fresh for judging. Those items must be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Entries get the chance to take home first-, second- and third-place ribbons or Best in Show and Grand Champion ribbons. There is also premium money available to win. Judging for different categories will take place throughout the week of the fair.
The fair officially kicks off with the Saline County Fair and Rodeo Parade at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Participants will line up by 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot of C.W. Lewis Stadium.
"I am excited to see different people in Saline County and different organizations' interpretations of 'The Fair Necessities.'" Wright said.
Joe and Lucille Bagley, who have had a long association with the fair, will be the parade marshals. The junior marshall will be Louie Schneider, 9, who is battling a terminal illness.
This year's fair judges are Haskell Mayor Roy Carmen, Bryant Mayor Allen Scott and Editor of the Saline Courier Josh Briggs.
The fair and carnival will be open at the Fairgrounds beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Tuesday and Thursday will be arm band nights where fair-goers can pay one price to ride all the rides. Arm bands will also be available from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Wright said the carnival will bring back the rides from last year, including the newest thrill, Freak Out, along with tilt-a-whirl, ferris wheel and merry-go-round.
Admission to the fair is free. Parking in the fairgrounds is $5 and limited. Wright said there are areas around the fairgrounds where fair-goers can park.
The Association will hold a petting zoo each night with goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits and more.
The pageant queens will not be the only fair royalty this year. This year the organizers have brought back the Rodeo Royalty Pageant. Girls and women will compete in horsemanship, interview, question and answer, and show off their western wear.
Wright said Rodeo Royalty is a tradition the association decided to bring back. The Royalty will be used for fair advertising and outreach.
Mutton Bustin will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Participants must sign up at 6:30 p.m. at the main ticket booth each night. Bull Riding and Rodeo will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. The rodeo will continue at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The rodeo will have a new act, Sophie Duke, an 11-year-old trick rider and mounted shooter, who Wright said is like Annie Oakley.
On Friday, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. children age 8 and younger will get the chance to try their hand showing animals. Some of those showing for the fair will bring their gentlest animals to give them a try. Each child who takes part will walk away with a ribbon.
Wright loves to see the junior livestock presenters get to show off their projects they have worked on all year.
She added many people love the fair as a chance to catch up with friends they don't see often.
"Everyone loves fair food," Wright said.
Wright wants the community to know that all those involved in putting the fair on each year are volunteers, no one is paid. She said they work to make it bigger and better every year.
They are also working to improve the fairgrounds themselves. There are plans to add new awnings to the exhibit building, add new horse stalls and update the hog, goat and sheep barn.
Wright encourages the community to get out, have fun and attend the fair and parade.
More information is available at www.salinecountyfairgrounds.com.