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Joran Sawford proudly displays an American flag as he drives one of his McCormick tractors during the Smithton Town and Country Fair Parade in this Democrat file photo. The 52nd annual Smithton Town and Country Fair is scheduled for July 11 through 13.

As it enters its second half century, the Smithton Town and Country Fair continues to remain faithful to its family friendly atmosphere while providing new events for fairgoers. 

“We have a good board that works hard to make the fair fun for everyone, either as spectators or participants,” Fair Board President Greg Wehrman said. “In addition to the entertainment provided, we really want to raise money to be put back into the school or given as scholarships to Smithton seniors. I think the people in our community see a real value in some home-made entertainment put on by their neighbors, plus the opportunity to visit with long-time friends again.”

Attend any of the events during the three days of the 52nd annual Fair, July 11 through 13 and that is what one will find; friends and family spending time together as they enjoy a number of events, many of which are free.

While some events have registration or entry fees, the only event with paid admission is the tractor pull. Children 12 and under have a $2 admission and anyone 13 and older is $5.

Last year the tractor pull was relocated to a tract of privately owned land adjacent to school property Wehrman explained.  

“With the recent improvements to the baseball field, the school district did not want to take the risk of damage from the tractor pull,” Wehrman said. “Unfortunately for the Fair Board, that small tract of land sold earlier this year so it was not available.

“The City of Smithton gave the Fair Board permission to use their land on the south end of Rattlesnake Road to hold the tractor pull,” he continued. “This location should provide adequate space for parking, and spectators while allowing plenty of room for the tractors and other equipment.”

Wehrman added that since this is the first year at this location, some bugs will need to be worked out. Both Fair Board members and the city hope the location can provide a good, long term relationship and become a solution for a suitable location to host the annual tractor pull. Concessions will be available at the new location. The tractor pull begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 12.

One event that is returning due to popular demand is the pig dressing contest. During the event  teams of three people compete in a timed event to dress a pig in and bra, panties and a shirt. Each team member must put an article of clothing on the pig and at least two of the contestants must hold the pig at some time during their time in the mud pit.

“The people in our community answered the concerns we had with many requests to include as part of the entertainment on Saturday night,” Wehrman said. “So, by popular demand it is back in our program.”

A mainstay of the fair is the parade. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 11 and features more than 70 floats, automobiles and tractors.   

“We try to make it a fun event without a lot of hassle or headache to enter,” Wherman said. The Fair Board votes on a Grand Marshall each year based on participation and support for the fair.

“It may be individuals, families, businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.,” he continued. “This year we decided on the  La Monte Community Bank to be our Grand Marshall for their many years of financial support for the fair and participation in fair events.“

The parade begins on Washington Street and continues on Sassafras Street before concluding at the school grounds. Groups, walkers, single bicycle riders, floats, automobiles,  trucks and tractors can all be a part of the parade. If interested contact Wehrman at 660-343-5715.   

There will be new events including a Cow Pie throwing contest on Friday night sponsored by Dr. Doug Kiburz. Bill Wagenknecht’s Horseless Rodeo features barrel racing, dummy roping and other tests of skill for participants. The event is scheduled for 8 p.m., Saturday, July 13.

While not a new event there is a time change of note.

The Miss Pettis County Queen Contest is moving from an evening event to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11. Pageant Directors Emily Gerke and Kandas Kroeger made the decision so the newly crowned queen can take part in the Fair Parade as well as other events during the first evening of the fair.

With more bounces houses available for children to play in, children’s games each night of the fair, a baby contest and children’s pedal pull even the youngest fairgoers have a number of events to choose from.

At its heart, the fair remains committed to be a showcase for students of the Smithton School district to showcase their livestock and 4-H and FFA projects.

Proceeds from the fair are used for scholarships for Smithton Seniors as well as projects for the betterment of the school district.  

For more information please visit the Fair’s Facebook page. The Fair Book with event times and locations as well as fair advertisers and sponsors are available to view in its entirety.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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