UNION — By Monday evening, there was no doubt that the fair is officially in town.
On the eve of opening night, the Union County Fair Association held a kickoff event for the 104th annual Union County Agricultural Fair. The event was catered by InFocus Today Ministries.
“This year promises to be a great week of rides, attractions, entertainment, food, fellowship and fun,” said Paul Winters, Fair Association executive director.
Winters began by explaining that the fair would go back to having a separate price for admission and rides this year, as opposed to the one-price-for-all approach of last year. Admission this year is $6 for adults and $4 for children, and the price for rides will be separate. Various ride promotions are available each night.
Winters discussed the 75 exhibit booths for this year’s fair as well as the art exhibits and most importantly, the numerous agricultural exhibits and contests.
“We are truly an agricultural fair, and that’s what sets our fair apart,” Winters said.
Winters mentioned some of the attractions that will be new to the fair, such as Simple Times Farm, which will display a milking cow, chickens, sheep, a donkey and an old time spinning wheel. Raffles will be held throughout the week.
Another event new to the fair this year will be the Union County Fair Beauty Pageant, which will be hosted by Glass Slipper Beauty Pageant of Spartanburg. Contestants will be allowed to enter at the door, and more information can be found at www.theglassslipperbeautypageant.com.
Winters also mentioned returning attractions such as Eudora Farms Petting Zoo — which will be open all week — and Trans-South Wrestling — a pro wrestling event that will be held Saturday night.
The kickoff event also featured special guests Bill and Cindy Morris, who walked Cora — a 9,000-pound Asian elephant — into the fairgrounds picnic area. Cora — along with a 4,500-pound African elephant named Shannon — will perform in the Elephant Encounter attraction throughout the week. The Elephant Encounter Show will run each night of the fair, with three shows on both Friday and Saturday.
The event was then turned over to representatives from the Miracle League of Union County (MLUC), who introduced their new mascot, Homer. Amy Austin explained that Homer’s existence in Union was made possible by a donation from the Junior Charity League.
Austin also explained that MLUC is currently working to fulfill a challenge issued by the Timken Family Foundation.
Last week, the Timken Family Foundation donated a $25,000 grant toward the MLUC’s goal of constructing a Miracle League field at Timken Sports Complex. In addition to the grant, the foundation offered up a challenge to MLUC as well as members of the community. If $60,000 can be raised locally by Aug. 13, the foundation will match the funds with an additional $60,000.
“I really want to stress to the community that if we can raise this $60,000 and have it matched, we could very well be playing ball by late spring 2013!” Austin said. “I know we can do it!”
Austin also said that everyone — individuals, clubs, organizations, churches, schools, committees, etc. — who donates or hosts a fundraiser will be an “Angel in the Outfield,” and their names will be displayed on a banner at the field.
Miracle League of Union County will host an exhibit booth at the fair all week, and Homer will be there to greet patrons and take photos. Since the $60,000 challenge has been in effect, numerous fund raising activities have been put into motion. Look for more information about those activities in upcoming editions of The Union Daily Times and on www.uniondailytimes.com.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.