Never too old to enjoy the fair: Local seniors enjoy games, Elvis


Age doesn’t determine how much fun you can have at the Jackson County Fair.

It is, after all, just a number, and Rita Riggs of Brownstown is proof.

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At 84, she had just as good of a time as anyone, and probably better considering she got to hug Elvis and show off her dance moves.

“Oh, I’m just crazy,” Riggs said. “But I sure do have fun.”

Joined by her friends, Riggs participated in the annual Older Americans Day on Tuesday at the fairgrounds in Brownstown.

The event is a special time set aside for senior citizens to enjoy the fair together. Local nursing homes transport residents who want to go, and area senior citizens groups are invited, too.

Taking place at the pavilion, around 75 seniors played bingo for prizes and then were treated to a performance by popular Elvis impersonator Travis Albertson of Austin. They also enjoyed fair food and had the opportunity to visit the different fair buildings to see project entries and animals.

Thankfully, the weather couldn’t have been better with low humidity, cooler temperatures and not a drop of rain in sight.

Shirley Hamilton of Brownstown said going to the fair is a highlight for seniors because they get to reunite with friends and share memories of past fairs.

Her favorite activities over the years have included visiting the midway and going through the buildings, she said.

“We always have a good time,” she said.

Viola Gay of Uniontown couldn’t contain her enthusiasm for the fair.

“I love it. I just love it,” she said.

A widow for 20 years, Gay said the fair is a great reason to get out and socialize.

“I love meeting with people, going through the buildings and especially eating,” she said.

A day before their 64th wedding anniversary, Ray and Ruth Newkirk of Seymour were together playing bingo at the fair. Senior day was the only time they planned to make it to the fair this year.

“We wanted to make sure we got a tenderloin,” Ruth, 87, said.

The couple planned to make their way over to the fine arts building to see how their craft entries fared. Ruth has a doily she crocheted on display, and Ray, 95, a veteran of World War II, entered an eagle crewel embroidery piece.

“We don’t know how we did yet,” she said.

Going to the fair now makes Ruth remember her own days in 4-H.

“I led a steer as a girl,” she said.

Being in 4-H was a wonderful opportunity for her back then, she said, and she’s glad youth continue with the tradition today.

“I think it’s great because you learn a lot, and you grow up doing something fun,” she said.

She recommends everyone visit the fair at least once during the week.

“If you’re not here, you’re missing out,” she said.