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Callaway fairgoers enjoy return to old-style fair

Youngsters provided several free attractions

Former Callaway County Commissioner Rodney Garnett displays a 1947 TE-20 Ferguson tractor equipped with a Carrington terracing blade invented and patented by George Carrington of Fulton and manufactured for a time by Danuser Equipment Co. of Fulton. The Ferguson tractor was made in England prior to a brief merger between Ferguson and Ford Motor Co.

Former Callaway County Commissioner Rodney Garnett displays a 1947 TE-20 Ferguson tractor equipped with a Carrington terracing blade invented and patented by George Carrington of Fulton and manufactured for a time by Danuser Equipment Co. of Fulton. The Ferguson tractor was made in England prior to a brief merger between Ferguson and Ford Motor Co. Photo by Don Norfleet.

Although crowds were sparse during morning hours, many fairgoers said they liked the old-fashioned fair format that the Callaway County Fair Board tried this year.

Kahl Ireland of Fulton, a fair board member, said he believes the test of the new format was successful this year.

It is more of a family-oriented event as an old-time country fair, he said.

“We also learned some things that I think we can improve next year,” Ireland said.

One change might be to shift the morning events to the afternoon or late evening because of small crowds during morning hours.

“If anyone has some suggestions, we hope they will contact us,” he said.

Ireland said paying huge sums of money to attract glitzy entertainment isn’t cost effective for the fair.

This year the admission price was lowered to only $5 to make the fair more affordable for families.

Ireland said the absence this year of the FFA and 4-H livestock competition with their own separate expo has prompted the Fair Board to consider starting an open class livestock exhibition next year.

“It would be open to anyone, both youth and adults,” Ireland said.

Saturday attractions included the mud bog competition in the big arena and the rodeo in the smaller arena. Those were preceded by the fiddlers contest.

During the day Saturday, youngsters enjoyed cavorting from one free game to another in events supervised by fair volunteers.

The free games included a bowling game using a plastic ball rolled to knock down empty one-liter plastic soda bottles.

Other games included tossing bean bags into holes, casting fishing lures toward a washtub placed about 50 feet away, and even a washtub with small plastic ducks floating in water for toddlers to grab.

Children also enjoyed clamoring on a big wrecker provided by Russ Automotive of Millersbug, a medium and heavy duty towing service, and a fire truck provided by the South Callaway Fire Protection District.

Erin Trams, 13, of Fulton said she thinks the new fair format of returning to the country fair is a great idea, especially the free games for children.

“This gives parents a chance to take their children out to the fair during their summer break from school and let them have fun,” Trams said. “They can enjoy sharing time with them because much of the time they must work during the day.”

Nate Partridge, 14, of Fulton said he enjoys the free events at the fair.

Both Trams and Partridge participated in a free event of casting fishing lures.

Partridge said he was looking forward to watching the mud bog races on Saturday night.

Both are also volunteer members of the Junior Fair Board that advises board members of the Callaway County Fair.

During the day the big attraction was the antique tractor show and the antique car show.

The first place winner in the antique car show was Edward Park of Marshall, who entered a 1936 Ford that was customized in the 1950s.

Park lived most of his life in Alaska and said the old Ford, which still has Alaska license plates, was driven on the Alaska Highway three times.

Second place honors went to Bud Ireland of Marshall, who entered a 1972 Corvette stingray.

Third place went to Corey Thompson of Fulton, who entered a 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse he had customized. He added modified driver’s door that swings up instead of out. It also had a modified red and black interior and neon lights underneath.

Bill and Jeanette Hudson of Millersburg won the antique tractor competition with a Massey Harris 1949 pony tractor, which he said was used mostly by truck gardeners. It is powered with an 11-horsepower engine.

Second place went to Todd Bittle of Millersburg, who entered a 1974 Allis Chalmers 185 tractor.

Third place honors went to Harold Lehman of Mokane, who entered a 1950 Massey Harris 30 driven by Jim Buffington.

The entries also included a 1947 TE-20 Ferguson tractor built in England entered by former Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Rodney Garnett of Holts Summit.

Garnett also demonstrated a Carrington blade mounted on the rear of the tractor.

He said the terracing blade was developed and patented by George Carrington, who worked as a salesman and mechanic at Jameson Ford in Fulton. Carrington’s father was Red Carrington, who served as Callaway County Clerk.

Garnett served as a county commissioner from 1987 to 2004.

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