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Fair grounds nearly ready for next week’s big event

On a recent trip to the fairgrounds Jennifer Fleming was treated to a whirlwind tour of the buildings and grounds by Chairman Aubrey Posey.

With the leadership of fair volunteers and the assistance of the Fair Association, the restrooms near the rodeo arena and in front of the main stage have been painted inside and out and are sporting colorful artwork by parish art students.

“With a ‘red barn’ theme, they are as cute as a newborn puppy,” Said Fleming.

Across the bridge and just inside the midway area, a completely new restroom is under construction and will be ready for this years’ fair. In an agreement with Thomas Carnival, the old restroom was taken down, and items were salvaged that could be used in the new construction. It’s bigger and better, with improved elevation for drainage. Rayburn Correctional Center is assisting with the new construction.

Mile Branch Settlement has several improved areas, also. A roof with cedar shingle accents has been added to the pavilion directly across from the “Cracklin’ Cookin’” area. The concrete floor has been stained, and ceiling fans and lights have been added. The Johnson Cabin and the Penton Smokehouse have new cedar shingle roofs. Crossing from Mile Branch Settlement to the area behind the main stage will be via a new bridge this year. The floor and railings of the bridge have been replaced, and a new ramp has been constructed on the “stage side” of the bridge. Painted in the fair colors of red, yellow and green and with the vintage fair entrance columns flanking the bridge, it will provide a scenic backdrop for the new picnic area that will provide 28 new picnic tables for fair-goers to enjoy. The camper area behind the stage has been relocated and will provide picnic space and limited parking.

The larger picnic area, however, is in need of some trees, so this would be an opportune time to make a donation in memory of or in honor of someone special to The Tree Project Fund. Information and a donation form are available in this years’ fair catalog.

Major work to the “bridge” overlooking the Down By the Branch stage has been in progress and will be completed prior to this years’ fair. The “bridge,” which is actually a culvert, was dug down to the lower culverts. Flo-mix was poured to form a “cast” over the culverts and allowed to dry and cure. Additional Flo-mix was then poured above the culverts. Clay fill was added, and the final step of paving will be completed soon.