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Going to the fair is a family affair

Jul. 09, 2013 @ 10:33 PM

ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Kay Myers of Waterloo, Ohio, has been coming to the Lawrence County Fair for more than 40 years and hopes her 10-month-old great-grandson, Myer Lunsford, will be bringing animals to the fair eight years from now.

"You get hooked coming to the fair," Myers said Tuesday. "You come back year after year. My four kids showed animal projects and so did my eight grandchildren. It teaches them responsibility and hard work. Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win. It's life."

One thing about the 140 families who camp out at the fairgrounds during the weeklong fair is that everybody knows everybody, Myers said.

Her daughter, Lisa Williams of Kitts Hill, Ohio, was in Starlite 4-H when she was growing up, and her daughter, Bridgette Malone, joined the same 4-H Club.

"We come to support the 4-H kids," Williams said. "The shows are fun to watch. We have a picnic on Sunday, and 50 to 60 people show up and bring a covered dish. It's good, clean fun."

Jillian Salyers, 17, of Chesapeake, Ohio, a Grace Christian High School senior, has been camping out at the fair for the past eight years.

"The first three years, I brought rabbits. This year I brought market hogs. It's my responsibility to wash them and feed and water them. I walk them every night."

From the money she received for the sale of market hogs at last year's fair, Salyers joined the Jeremiah 38 Ministries mission trip to Lima, Peru, earlier this summer.

"It was so cool," she said. "It was really worth it. I want to help people."

She plans to attend either Ohio State or Marshall next year and get a nursing degree. She could become a travel nurse and attend mission trips.

Fair week is muddy and hectic but fun, Salyers said.

"You make a lot of friends," she said. "Fair week is my favorite week of the year."

Nick Hoffman of Kitts Hill, Ohio, was camping at the fair for the first time this year.

"It beats driving home every night and heading back here the next day," he said. His nephew, Daniel Mootz, had the grand champion goat at this year's fair.

"This was my first year bringing goats," Mootz said. He was stunned when the goat he calls "Big Red" was named grand champion.

"Wow, I wasn't expecting that."

Lawrence County Clerk of Courts Mike Patterson has been camping out at the fair for more than 30 years.

"I brought hogs to the fair, and both my boys have hogs at this year's fair," he said. "It's a way to keep the tradition going. The fair is like a reunion more than anything. I have two brothers who camp here during fair week with their family."

Kaitlin Payne, a Willow Wood, Ohio, area resident, has been bringing animal projects to the fair for seven years. Even though she was getting around on crutches after hurting her knee playing basketball a month ago, she is still taking care of her hogs, albeit with help of family and friends.

"I just enjoy it," Payne said. "I didn't name them. I know not to get too attached to them" she said of the two hogs she's taken care of since January. The hogs will be sold on Saturday. "I'll put some of the money toward college."

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