Local assisted living facility brings county fair to residents

BROWNSTOWN

One resident loved eating the pink cotton candy.

Another one liked talking to the animals that visited the facility.

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The staff had a good, time, too. One said she also liked the cotton candy and especially enjoyed seeing the residents participate in all of the festivities.

The inaugural Village Fair last week at Hoosier Christian Village in Brownstown was a hit.

Since there’s no Jackson County Fair this week because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the assisted living facility organized the weeklong celebration to give residents and staff a taste of the fair.

During a typical year, residents are taken to the nearby fairgrounds to enjoy all of the activities, from the animals to the food to the special buildings and exhibits.

This, however, isn’t a typical year, so Hoosier Christian Village staff thought outside of the box to provide a fun fair-like experience.

Being a self-proclaimed “fair rat” along with other members of her family, Activities Director Allison Sparks helped make it a great fair week.

“You can’t replicate those lemon shake-ups from the show arena, but we’re going to give it a whirl,” she said, smiling while talking about one of Friday’s activities.

Just like the Jackson County Fair, one of the activities on opening day during Village Fair was the frog jumping frenzy. Residents watched frogs leap from a bucket to the sidewalk and hop to the finish line outside the facility, and some even got to hold the frogs afterwards.

Residents also were treated to midway games, including frog and goldfish games. For the latter game, Goldfish crackers were used. Stuffed animals lined the windows inside Hoosier Christian Village for residents to choose as a prize.

During the week, they also were treated to cotton candy and snow cones; looked at antique tractors; enjoyed pork burgers donated by Brownstown Central FFA; met a calf named Harper, a pony named Pete and a donkey named Eeyore; checked out a Hoosier Christian Village history exhibit; looked at 4-H posters donated by Sara Stuckwisch and her family; and judged posters made by Crothersville FFA members.

Along with lemon shake-ups Friday, the festivities included 2019 Jackson County Fair queen Jessica Blevins stopping by outside the facility to see the residents, who were seated inside at the windows, and Kristye Lewis and her therapy miniature horse, Flash, paying a visit.

Blevins, who graduated from Seymour High School on May 31, said she was happy to be asked to be a part of the event.

“It was great not only to give me something to do but just getting to see everyone,” she said. “I have to feel like people in nursing homes, this has to be so difficult for them. I just want to try and help make them feel better.”

As she went up to each window, she was greeted by residents holding signs with various messages, ranging from asking her to blow them a kiss to thanking her for visiting. A couple of residents even donned tiaras.

“It was great just to kind of feel that sense of community again since everyone has been staying away from each other,” she said. “Just seeing people come together but in a different way was great.”

Like the residents and staff, Blevins is disappointed about not being able to go to the fair this year. She enjoyed experiencing the fair with her court last year and participating in the state pageant and was looking forward to appearances throughout the year and crowning this year’s fair queen.

“Especially in Jackson County, I think the fair means so much to everyone, more than probably a lot of other places,” she said. “I think next year, the fair is going to be packed, and we’re just going to appreciate everything so much more and really look forward to it because so many people are missing just what the fair offers them, from the kids to the businesses around here, churches, everything.”

Blevins was joined Friday by her mother, Jane, who was the fair queen in 1973. Visiting Hoosier Christian Village was special to Jane because both of her grandmothers once spent time there.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a lot of fond memories of this place,” Jane said.

Now, Jessica has a great memory of visiting there.

“I’m so happy that they asked me, and I’m glad to be here,” she said.

As a token of appreciation, Sparks presented Jessica with a vase of flowers picked from outside the facility.

She also appreciated everyone else from around the county who made Village Fair possible.

“We couldn’t have done it without the community support, for sure. It’s extremely heartwarming,” Sparks said. “Thank you very much for the support of the community and the staff getting involved. It has just been a really good week.”