The Jackson County Fair officially began at 1 p.m. Sunday, but anyone visiting the fairgrounds could be forgiven for thinking it might have begun a day earlier.
That’s because on Saturday, amid all of the flourish of people setting up rides and displays in buildings, bringing in entries for open contests and 4-H and FFA projects and preparing food stands to serve meals to fairgoers, a couple of 4-H shows also were conducted
That meant some 4-H’ers already have had the experience of seeing the end results of their hard work over the past days, weeks and months.
Jennifer Jones of Seymour and her 8-month-old Siamese cat, Charlotte, for instance, were champions in their division in the 4-H cat show.
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Jones and Charlotte were the first to be called to the judging table in Show Arena 1.
“I’ve had her for a few months,” the 10-year-old said of Charlotte, who like most cats doesn’t do a lot except climb.
“She can play fetch,” said Jones, who also participated in the cat show a year ago and won a blue ribbon with a barn cat.
She admitted to going out and finding Charlotte with the 4-H cat show in mind.
Jones also admitted to being a little nervous about showing Charlotte, unlike Colin Sons of Seymour, who has been showing cats in the show for eight years.
“It’s pretty much the easiest thing you can do at the fair,” the 17-year-old said. “You walk up and set a cat on the table. There’s not much training to it.”
Sons said he became involved in the cat project because his mother, Jessica Sons, is the project leader, but he also finds it to be a lot of fun.
“There are lots of things you can do,” he said. “There’s cage decorating, and you can dress up your cat. It’s just low stress.”
So is his 2-year-old cat, John Wayne.
“My cat will catch birds, and that’s about it,” Sons said. “He just lays down.”
The 4-H horse and pony show also was held despite on and off rain throughout the day. A couple of other shows, including the 4-H tractor and the 4-H dog show, were held. There also are other non-4-H shows held on the day before the fair each year, including the Jackson County carcass barrow show and the Spurs & Wheels Saddle Club fun show at the horse arena.
Although the 4-H beef show is not until later in the week, 13-year-old Molly Nicholson of Brownstown spent part of her Saturday morning washing her cattle for the open class and 4-H beef shows.
Nicholson said competing in the open class show Sunday is good practice for the 4-H show.
She said she practiced with her livestock at home.
“I’m just going to make sure they do OK,” Nicholson said of the open show.
Saturday is the day baked goods and other food entries are brought to the fair and judged in the family arts building.
Grant Elliott, 15, of Brownstown said he hopes to take home a top prize for his baked banana bread and brownies after his entries a year ago placed second and third.
“My goal is to do a lot better,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve done more baking and become more experienced.”
Elliott said baking is something he has always liked to do.
“I would come home from school and my mom (Autumn Hackney) would be baking,” he said. “I just started baking with her, and it become something fun to do.”
Gloria Cross said a lot of activities are planned at the antique building this week. This year’s theme is “Entertainment of Days Gone By.”
“There’s a little movie theater with seats out of the Royal Off-the-Square Theatre,” she said.
Classic movies featuring Abbott and Costello and other stars from yesteryear will be shown this week.
There’s also a circus wagon, owned by the Jackson County History Center. The art on the sides and front of that circus wagon recently was restored by local artist Jerry Brown of Brownstown.
The main exhibit will be a recreated living scene from days gone by. It will feature a television with an old TV series playing and some of games children played before the advent of video games, Cross said.