The 76th annual Columbia County Fair and Livestock Show will get underway today and continue through Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds. There will be fun and activities for the entire family, and each night of the fair brings a special event.

The fair parade will begin at 5 p.m. Monday. According to Lynn Barnhart, president of the Columbia County Fair and Livestock Show Association, each year members of the association select a parade marshal for the fair parade. The person that is chosen has done something for the community that may not be recognized anywhere else, Barnhart explained, “but we feel they have impacted our community from their efforts throughout the year.”

This year’s parade marshal will be Gloria Counter. Counter has served on the Fair Board of Directors for the last several years, and has overseen and organized the parade. Last November, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma — a rare form of cancer for women, as it usually affects men.

Barnhart stated that Counter has gone above and beyond, and though she has been in the battle of her life, she has persevered every day. She has been in and out of the hospital for treatments, but still has not stopped. She still went to work, refusing to give in or give up her battle with this disease.

“With this we wanted to do something to recognize her fight and determination to not quit, so on Monday, Sept. 16, we are declaring a Pink-Out Day to honor our parade marshall, Gloria Counter, and others in our community who have battled or are currently battling cancer,” Barnhart said, adding everyone is encouraged to wear something pink that day.

Anyone who wishes may walk with Counter in the parade, and may wear any shade of pink.

“Join her in the fight against cancer,” Barnhart said, “and bring awareness to everyone affected by cancer.”

The Fair Board has had a banner printed up proclaiming “Join Us in the Fight Against Cancer.” 

On Monday night, anyone wearing pink will get $1 off gate admission to the fair.

Nightly events will include:

•In addition to the Fair Parade on Monday, the Columbia County Fair Queen Contest will be at 8 p.m. Monday under the pavilion.

•Tuesday is Senior Citizens Day at 2 p.m., sponsored by Mary K’s Good Neighbors. Tuesday night is “Media Night,” with $4 tickets at the gate for everyone and $12 armbands to “ride all you can from 6-10 p.m.” Tuesday night also features the talent show at 6:30 p.m. under the pavilion.

•On Wednesday, the greased pig contest will be held, sponsored by KZHE Radio. The dance contest begins at 7 p.m. under the pavilion.

•Thursday’s activities will include the Baby Miss, Toddler Miss and Tiny Miss Fair Queen competition at 6:30 p.m. under the pavilion.

•On Friday night, the Little Miss, Petite Miss and Preteen Miss Fair Queen and the Junior and Teen Miss Fair Queen Contests will be at 7 p.m.

•Saturday will bring “Fun Time” from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., and rides start at 11 a.m. — “ride all you can for $15.” The gate charge for non-riders will be $3. 

Featured entertainment on Saturday will be Blane Howard from Hot Springs, performing at 7 p.m. Howard graduated in 2006 from Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, where he played football, basketball, and ran track, receiving multiple All Conference/All State awards. He sang in the choir, winning multiple All Region and multiple All State awards. He was also nominated for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.

Howard graduated in 2010 from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. He auditioned and was selected for “Southbound,” a country music group on campus, and sang for the following three years.

He has performed in Nashville at the Hard Rock Cafe, 12th and Porter, the Rutledge, and the Local Taco; in Hot Springs at Timberwood Amphitheater at Magic Springs, and Razorback Pizza; at Gino’s Sports Bar in Benton; and at various private events.

Howard has opened for various entertainers including Joe Nichols, Aaron Tippin, John Michael Montgomery, Blake Shelton, and Trace Adkins.

Exhibits and entries have long been an integral part of the county fair, and Columbia County is no exception.

Monday’s schedule includes judging foods, 11 a.m.; judging flowers, 11 a.m. poultry judging, 1 p.m. judging art and all home economics, 5 p.m.; judging horticulture, 5 p.m.; and rabbit judging, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s schedule is judging flowers, 11 a.m.; judging foods, 11 a.m.; cooking contest, 6 p.m.; and the junior livestock judging, 6 p.m. for dairy goats and market goats.

Wednesday’s schedule is judging flowers, 11 a.m.; judging foods, 11 a.m.; junior livestock judging, 6 p.m. for market lambs, registered beef, commercial heifers, market steers, breeding swine, and market hogs.

Thursday’s schedule includes the junior livestock sale at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday, livestock will be released at 10 p.m. All exhibits are to be removed between 1-3 p.m. Sunday, and premium checks may be picked up under the pavilion.

Published: 09/16/2013