By Josh Presley
Although the Union County Fair, which first opened in 1941, has become a mainstay in the community, patrons will see a few scheduling changes when it opens this July.
Stanley Wise, volunteer coordinator for the fair, says that although some changes have been made to the schedule, the Union County Fair is still “ the best little county fair in the state of Mississippi.”
The first change is that the fair is about two weeks earlier. It’s usually in the first week of August but this year will take place beginning on July 13 and ending on July 21.
The other big change is that the livestock show, which is traditionally held on the first weekend, will now take place on the final weekend.
“In the past there were more people that farmed and there were more people that showed cattle or came to the fair to look at the new breeds and that kind of thing, and the cows would stay all week,” Wise said. “Nowadays, with people’s fast paced lifestyles, you don’t have as many full time farmers. You have people who work full time jobs and have part time cattle operations, so they can’t come to the fair and stay with the cows all week anymore.”
Wise said that the cows will only be brought in one day, shown the next, then go home the next. There will still be cows around to see during the fair while the carnival is there though.
With the livestock show being moved to the final weekend, the rodeo has been moved to the first weekend, before the carnival starts.
“One of our highlights of the fair is always the rodeo,” Wise said. “It’s a standalone event for fair this year, but we’ve really got a good rodeo planned.”
Also, since in past years many people came just to see the rodeo but still had to pay the $8 fee for the entire event, this year the cost of admission for the rodeo by itself if $5.
“It’s going to be a really economical event and good family entertainment,” Wise said.
Something completely new for the fair this year will be donkey basketball, which is exactly what it sounds like. You try to play basketball while riding a donkey.
“It should be fun,” Wise said. “The donkey’s don’t do what you want them to do but you’ve still go to get that ball in the goal just like always.”
Wise said that he hopes these changes will improve the fair and that it will continue to grow as an event.
“This is an economical and cultural treasure that people tend to take for granted,” he said. “This is something that people in Union County can and should be proud of.”