By Murray Bishoff
Plans are nearly complete for the Barry County Fair, taking place this weekend at Gizmo's Event Center on Highway 86 in Wheaton.
The public is invited to attend events throughout the fair. According to Shae Pierce, fair secretary, there will be bleacher seating for events, and spectators are welcome to bring lawn chairs.
Events will start at 6 p.m. on Thursday with the dairy cattle show. Autumn Roller will be the judge. Animal registration is at 5 p.m.
Generally, Pierce said registration will be held one hour before each of the events. Most of the competition will be held in the pole barn at the barn on the event center. There will be a central booth in the pole barn for check-in.
The event center has two main entrances, Pierce said. Signage will be in place marking where spectators should enter and where exhibitors should pull in with their trailers.
Also on Thursday will be the 4-H Achievement Day competitions. The 4-H event will be held under the grandstand.
On Friday, registration for the goat and rabbit show will begin at 5 p.m. Competition starts at 6 p.m. The rabbit and chicken shows will be under the shed at the side of the pole barn.
The fair parade will be held at 5 p.m. Line-up will be at Gizmo's Event Center. The parade will wind its way up into Wheaton, head up Main Street into the city park and return to the fairgrounds.
Exhibitors are welcome to bring their animals into the parade, said Pierce. Antique farm equipment, such as tractors, are welcome to join the parade. Pierce asked non-exhibitors to contact fair organizers at 342-2739 to make arrangements.
Danny Schilling and his dogs will put on an exhibition of stock dogs skills in the arena at 5:30 p.m.
Unlike the other events, the beef cattle will be registered on Friday night for the show starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Animals will have to stay on the grounds overnight. Tie-up and set-up arrangements can be made at registration. Primitive camping is free, and hook-ups for campers are available for $20.
Fair organizers recommend exhibitors bring bedding for their animals. Bedding materials will be available for purchase from Gizmo's.
Both the beef cattle and the equine shows will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Dr. Jerry Crownover, former Missouri State University professor, will be judging both the beef and the sheep shows. The beef show will be in the show barn.
The equine show will be in the rodeo arena, which has grandstand seating for spectators. Halfway through the judging will be an intermission, at which time a draft horse demonstration will be given in the arena.
The hog show will start at 9 a.m. in the pole barn. The goat show will start at 10 a.m., followed by the sheep show at 1 p.m.
Dr. Keith Bramwell, a professor of the University of Arkansas, will judge the poultry show. Fancy chickens will be judged at 2 p.m. and broiler chickens at 3 p.m.
Ribbons will be awarded to all participants, Pierce said. Premiums will be paid on the grounds, Pierce said. Plaques will be awarded to the grand and reserve champion winners. Supreme male and female honors will be named in each species, including Best of Show, except for horses.
An auction of premiums earned by exhibitors will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday under the show barn. Donnie Stumpff will be the auctioneer. The auction is expected to last up to 90 minutes, depending on the number of participants.
A number of entertainment features are planned for the fair. At 8 p.m. on Thursday a ranch rodeo will be held in the arena. On both Friday and Saturday there will be a full rodeo, sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, beginning at 8 p.m.
The four-person band Corybell Country will perform at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and again on Saturday evening. The band is headed by Sandy Lowe, who has performed over the years at the Grand Ole Opry and in Branson with numerous country luminaries such as Loretta Lynn and Roy Clark.
Adding to the entertainment on Saturday will be the Jam Seekers bluegrass and old-time country band at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Joshua and Sara Lee playing fiddle and bass at 11:30 a.m. The Eden family will play at 3 p.m., followed by a return set by Corybell Country.
Local Ham radio operators will be back again this year demonstrating their contribution to emergency response services. They will offer demonstrations on Friday evening and Saturday until noon.
Fair royalty will be helping throughout the event, Pierce said, presenting ribbons and plaques to winning competitors.
The only activity planned for Sunday is a morning cowboy church service in the arena, organized by Dale "Gizmo" McCracken. The public will again be welcome to attend.
Additional information about the fair is available by calling 342-2739.