WELLSTON — The 165th annual Jackson County Fair is well underway, with fairgoers being greeted with hot, rainy weather so far.

The fair opened with back-to-back nights (July 16-17) of harness racing at the Bellisio Foods Grandstand. Then Fast Traxx Motocross invaded the fairground on July 18.

The official opening of the fair was held on Sunday, July 19, with opening ceremonies being held at the WesBanco Entertainment Complex.

A smaller than normal crowd gathered to listen as Jackson Mayor Randy Evans welcomed everybody to this year’s fair. Evans served as emcee for the opening ceremonies.

Jackson County Fair Board President Mike Farley then took the stage and welcomed everyone to the 2020 Jackson County Fair. Farley explained that this year’s fair was a little different due to everything (COVID-19) going on in the world, but its main objective was to do something for the 4-H youth, who had worked so hard.

“I don’t think anyone knows how hard it was to do this, instead of putting on a regular fair,” said Farley. “I want to thank everyone who helped get this together.”

Evans then introduced community outreach representatives from around the state, while, Farley accepted commendations and letters from those individuals on behalf of the fair.

Among those representatives, was State Representative Jason Stephens, who presented a $50,000 check from the state to the Jackson County Fair. The check was to help the fair out during the COVID-19 crisis.

Following the representatives, Erin Daily, the Jackson County Extension director and 4-H Extension educator, took the stage to help with awarding 4-H scholarships.

Abby Meldick was awarded the 2020 Ohio Valley Bank 4-H Scholarship. Receiving her second-year OVB 4-H Scholarship was Annalee Warrens. She was the 2019 recipient. Receiving her third-year OVB 4-H Scholarship was Kira Mullins. She was the 2018 recipient. Receiving his fourth-year OVB 4-H Scholarship was Zayne Warrens. He was the 2017 recipient.

Madison Callahan and Rylee Zinn were awarded the 4-H Advisory Council Scholarship; Madison Callahan, Triston Diltz, and Rylee Zinn were awarded the Paul and Loretta Riegel Livestock Committee Scholarships; Shania Gross was awarded the Jackson County 4-H Horse Committee Scholarship, and Alexis Pariseau received the David Sloan Fortune Fundraising Scholarship.

Rylee Zinn was awarded the Janie Hatfield Memorial Scholarship. Wally Hatfield presented the scholarship in memory of his daughter Janie Hatfield. Janie died in 2018 at the age of 14, following a hard-fought battle with cancer.

The opening ceremonies concluded with the crowning and announcement of the 2020 Jackson County Fair Royalty.

Elizabeth Fannin was crowned Fair Queen, Abigail Meldick was crowned 1st Attendant, while her little sister, Jennifer Meldick, was crowned 2nd Attendant.

Other royalty included Makayla Simpson, Little Miss; Jayden Swackhammer, Little Mister; MaKayla Davidson, third/fourth-grade attendant; Katie Ross, fifth/sixth-grade attendant; Makenzie Collins, seventh/eighth-grade attendant; and Presley Sexton, ninth/10th grade attendant.

Once the crowning concluded a storm blew into the fairgrounds, and everyone scattered for shelter. Sunday evening finished out with the junior fair fun night, which was moved to the show arena due to weather.

The following day kicked off the livestock shows. Only two animals were on the fairgrounds on Monday, July 20. Rabbits and turkeys were featured in the show arena that day.

Bringing home the title of grand and reserve champion market rabbit was Emma Moon. The overall market rabbit showman title went to Trinity Jones. Then the titles of grand champion breeding rabbit went to Trinity Jones, while Emma Moon scooped up the title of reserve champion breeding rabbit.

Later in the afternoon Monday, turkeys entered the show ring. The overall market turkey showman title went to Daniel Baker. Baker also secured the title of grand champion market turkey, while a Gabrielle Sickles claimed reserve champion.

Sheep and goats were in the show arena on Tuesday, but no results were available by press time.

Look for another recap in The Courier’s next edition. The fair continues through Saturday, July 25.

The Courier will feature extensive coverage of the Jackson County Fair online (www.vintonjacksoncourier.com) and in the next Wednesday edition. Keep an eye out for photo galleries, show results, livestock sale results, and interviews with 4-H’ers.

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