HAZARD—Thousands flocked to the Perry County Park Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week to take part in the 2015 Perry County Fair—the first of its kind in a number of years.
The fair opened Thursday afternoon with ribbon cutting and opening ceremonies, during which event organizers, fair participants, vendors, and the community were thanked for helping make the 2015 Perry County Fair become more than just an idea.
Perry County Tourism Marketing Manager Sam Neace, who took his current position only six months ago, said the fair was just the first in what he hopes are many new ventures and adventures in and for Perry County.
“I am really proud of our community,” he said. “The fair was just an idea for us, but the community really made it a success. This was our first one, and we hope to make it even better next time around.”
Jason Brashear, a member of the committee that helped put on the board, said it was really a group effort across the county to make the event possible.
“The fair board, [Perry County] Judge [Executive Scott] Alexander, and the extension district board worked hand and (sic) hand to pull off the first ever Perry County Fair in less than five months,” Brashear said. “We pulled off a wonderful community event featuring all things local.”
Brashear added that the economic impact of the fair has already been seen to be extremely positive.
Neace said he estimated that around 75 booths were set up at the park for all three days. Local churches, athletic organizations, and nonprofits were just some of the groups who manned those booths.
“The vendors I talked to were pleased,” Neace added. “Even with Saturday producing bad weather, the ones I talked to still earned more than they expected … One group of cheerleaders did so well, they have now decided to do the Vicco Bash also to help raise money. They had never done a public event like that before.”
Neace had talked to the Herald earlier this year about taking his new position, and a little bit about the fair. At the time, Neace said he wanted to make sure to make it a true county fair with as many local vendors, attractions, and performers as possible.
“Every performer on stage was from this general area—including the headliner, Halfway to Hazard,” Neace said on Monday.
The event offered attendees a local craft booth, food booths, live pig races and a petting zoo, lumberjack demonstrations, hunters safety classes, live Battle of Leatherwood reenactments, free swimming at the Perry County Pool, as well as a visit from Liz and Justin Chaote, two of the stars of the History Channel’s hit show “Swamp People.”
“With all things considered, I think this county really came together to create an awesome event,” Neace said.
When asked about next year’s fair, Neace said he planned to do everything he could to make it even better, but was in the process of working on a new event for the area—a downtown Hazard fishing tournament.
“Now, we will move on to the ‘Fish the City’ event!”
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.