Jackson County Fair set to begin Sunday


BROWNSTOWN — While the Jackson County Fair doesn’t open to the public until Sunday, dozens of people have been busy the past few days setting up their booths and preparing for the opening day to greet fairgoers.

“There is such a good variety and something for everyone to enjoy,” Richard Beckort of Seymour said of the fair. He has been with Purdue Extension Jackson County for 36 years.

This is the 35th fair for Beckort, and he describes the Jackson County Fair as something that changes but also doesn’t change.

“I can’t say enough about how great of a job the fair board does to improve on the buildings we have and make sure the grounds stay nice, but we still maintain that good old-fashioned county fair,” he said as he took a break from working Thursday in the 4-H Building.

For many longtime fairgoers, a majority of their life has revolved around attending or working at the fair.

“You never miss a day of the fair,” said Kalli Berry, who is a volunteer with the Jackson County History Center.

In the Antique Building, volunteers with the history center were busy Thursday setting up displays of antique furniture, vehicles and other items for fairgoers to enjoy the deep-rooted history of the county.

Gloria Cross, an officer with the history center, has been involved with the building display for 20 years and has been attending the fair ever since she was a young 4-H member.

“The fair has been a big part of my life even when I was a 10-year 4-H member,” the Brownstown woman said. “You planned everything around the fair.”

Cross and her late husband, Gary, enjoyed running the lemon shake-up stand for a number of years — a memory she is quite fond of.

Now at 79 years of age, Cross said she enjoys seeing the displays of history from each township in Jackson County as photos, article clippings and other mementos are hung on the walls in the Antique Building.

Beckort said one of the things that makes the Jackson County Fair unique is that it still offers opportunities and activities that some fairs don’t have anymore.

“We have a lot of things that other county fairs don’t have, like the Antique Building and Horticulture,” Beckort said. “I would definitely say we have one of the best, if not the best, fairs in the state.”

Besides his many years of involvement in helping 4-H kids display their projects, he fondly remembers bringing his own children to the fair and experiencing joy through their eyes.

Across from the 4-H Building, members of St. John’s Sauers Lutheran Church were busy Thursday putting the finishing touches on the new fair food stand.

“This is a big change, and it takes a lot of prep work,” Greg Stuckwisch said.

He said to make something successful, it takes a village of people willing to chip in and help.

Stuckwisch also said the same can be said for not only the completion of their new fair stand but for the fair as a whole.

“All of this work at the fair doesn’t just happen by itself,” he said.

Jeff Lorenzo of Seymour, who is a member of the church, said one thing he looks forward to each year at the fair is the camaraderie and connecting with old friends.

“I always enjoy seeing people I only see probably once a year,” he said. “That’s what the fair is about, seeing and connecting with people.”

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