It doesn’t matter if it’s cattle shows, 4-H competitions or a trip on a carnival ride, the Barren County Fair has something for everyone.
While the Barren County Fair has everything that most county fairs do, it is a bit unique in that it is not located in the county seat but rather outside the tiny community of Temple Hill in southeastern Barren County.
To get there, fair goers must travel about 12 miles from Glasgow on one of the most winding roads in the county, Ky. 63, which earned the nickname of Roller Coaster because of all its steep grade hills and hairpin curves.
But the people who work hard to make it happen every year think it’s a special event.
“I don’t know that we have anything like it in the county that compares to it,” said William Myatt, fair manager and president of the Temple Hill Lions Club, which sponsors the fair.
Many people turn out each year for it.
In 2009, attendance on Saturday night, which is the biggest night for the fair and offers the most to do and see, was over 2,500. Attendance for the entire week of fair in 2009 was around 7,500, and it increases each year.
“We are one of the largest fairs in the state. We really built it from a little community-type event and fundraiser into something really big. It’s grown exponentially,” Myatt said.
James Bailey, publicity chairman for the club, pointed out going to the county fair is inexpensive entertainment.
Admission to the fair is $3 per person for adults and $1 for children 6 to 12 Tuesday through Friday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, children age 5 and under will be admitted for $1 each. On Thursday and Friday children 5 and under will be admitted free. Admission on Saturday is $1 for everyone until 3 p.m. After 3 p.m. admission is free for children 5 and under, $10 per person for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12.
“I think it’s worth noting that’s a pretty good reasonable price for a fair,” Bailey said. “There’s not too many things you can [attend] that cheap.”
Ruby Cockerham, past club president, agreed and said, “I think really because people, especially now during the harder times, people don’t have as much money. It’s something the whole family can get out and do and take the kids.”
The fair is the club’s biggest fundraiser. The club takes in an average of $50,000 a year from the fair. The total varies depending on attendance to the events.
“We serve a lot of purposes. Obviously, the main one is the collection of eye glasses and assisting people in getting eye care, but we also donate a lot of money to organizations and people in the community,” Myatt said.
The club makes contributions to Community Medical Care and to area schools.
In 2009 it helped a family buy clothing and needed supplies when their home burned.
“We donate a lot of money throughout the year,” he said.
Club members put in a lot of hard work and effort to make the fair happen each year, he said.
“We are really proud of what we do. We put as much work into it as we can. We want to make it great for everybody,” Myatt said.
This year’s fair, which will be the 56th year for the event, offers the same type of events as it did in 2009.
“When you got something as great as we got, sometimes it’s hard to come up with something new,” Bailey said.
One thing that is new for this year is an expanded dressing room for beauty pageant contestants. The new dressing room consists of 1,000 square feet and is air conditioned.
The club received a state grant in 2009 to fund the expansion of the dressing room, plus the construction of a pavilion to shade pageant goers. This year and in years past the club has put up a tent close to the stage to keep the sun off those who want to watch the pageant.
Construction of the pavilion will begin after the fair ends this year, Myatt said.
The fair begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday with the Youth Goat Show followed by a ribbon cutting hosted by the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce at 5 p.m.
Other events planned for the first night of the fair are: an antique tractor pull, gospel and bluegrass music featuring the Sneed Family and Long Creek Bluegrass, the 4-H and FFA beef cattle show and the open beef cattle show. All events begin at 7 p.m.
Carnival entertainment will be provided by Dixieland Rides, which has taken part in the fair for several years. The carnival opens at 6 p.m. Wrist bands will be available from 6 to 10 p.m.
For more information about the fair and upcoming events, see the listing featured on page A2.