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First-time fairgoers have fun at Morgan County fest

July 31, 2005|By TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The fifth annual Morgan County Fair at Berkeley Springs High School had a good turnout Saturday, and for many it was their first time coming.

Larry Lower, president of the Morgan County Fair Board, was pleased with the attendance. He said since 9 a.m. Saturday, there were 120 people an hour coming in on the "trolley," the shuttle bus that brought people from the parking area at nearby Widmyer Elementary School.

"A lot of people are walking in," said Lower.

One of the big attractions was the miniature horses from Sleepylighthouse Farm, owned by Bob and Dot Caudill. Their exhibit was set up on the football field at the north side of the high school.

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Local resident Helene Keefer said she came to the fair for the first time with her son, Dustin Keefer, and two granddaughters, Emily, 7, and Lilly, 3. Emily Keefer said one of her fair favorites was the miniature horses.

Sara Marshall, 6, was visiting her grandparents, Cindy and Bill Swaim. This was the first time they came to the fair, too. Marshall tried to feed and pet Jo, the 3-month-old filly who was on display with Midnight, the 17-year-old miniature horse.

The afternoon Kids Pedal Tractor Pull gathered a crowd. The contest was open to kids ages 4 to 10, who tried to pedal the tractor with a weighted sled to the finish line.

Kyle Goss, 10, was the first contestant. His mother, Rita Goss, said "it's a very nice event for kids. Everyone's a winner, that's why," she said because all the participants received a ribbon.

Debbie Cave said she has lived in Morgan County most of her life and her son is a 1999 Berkeley Springs High School graduate. This is the first year she attended the fair.

"The watermelon-eating contest should be fun to watch," she said.

There were many displays inside the high school, including quilting demonstrations, garden activities and a wild bird display, as well as many judged exhibits from art to baked goods to photography.

Pat Steers, a member of the Morgan County Community Education Outreach Service, volunteered to help with the art exhibits at the fair. Steers admired the work of Best in Show winner Bossie Ganoe, a watercolor painting in the landscape category. "Watercolor is unforgiving," Steers said. "Acrylics and oils can be fixed."

Ganoe, 79, is a self-taught artist, said CEOS member Relda White, head of the fair's Home Arts Department. Ganoe entered four watercolor paintings this year. The winners received prize money, White said.

The art exhibit was judged by art teacher Jerry Potter of Warm Springs Middle School and his wife, Ann Potter, a second-grade teacher at Widmyer Elementary School, Steers said.

"I wish we could get people to enter more things," Steers said.

"The entries we have are excellent but more competition is better," White said.

CEOS member Marge Barhight, this year's Morgan County Belle, was in full costume Saturday. In June, Barhight represented the county at the annual West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, W.Va.

To become a belle, a woman must be at least 70 years old and possess the characteristics of a pioneer woman "with spirit and dedication," Barhight said. The festival has been honoring county belles for more than 40 years, she said.

Barhight said she calls her costume her "friendship dress" because she and two of her friends who are not seamstresses made the costume "and we were still friends after we finished it."

Today's fair hours are from noon until 6 p.m. at Berkeley Springs High School on U.S. 522, south of town.

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