WELLSBURG – A variety of fun and games and a fair share of learning were all part of the Brooke County Fair this weekend, with attendees of different ages taking part in various contests and plenty of attractions providing a glimpse of the agriculture, nature and history.
About 20 locals turned out early Saturday morning to participate in the HealthSource Chiropractic of Wellsburg 5K Color Run, with proceeds going to Blueprints, a Washington, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that trains, among other services, adoptive parents.
This was the third year that HealthSource Chiropractic had held such a run in the park to benefit a non-profit cause, but the first year’s non-toxic colored powder was thrown at participants as they walked past several stations in several areas of Brooke Hills Park, the venue for the fair.
As noon approached, children from Brooke Intermediate North and Brooke Intermediate South Elementary Schools arrived to demonstrate their strength and determination in the annual Fair Showdown.
After several rounds, a Brooke Intermediate South team consisting of Cain Bennett, Levi Conley, Ella Gagich, Darrell Longmire, Audry Mitchell and Kaylee Ripley, many of whom were students in Haley Bowman’s main class, emerged victorious after several rounds.
Coached by principal Scott Donohew, physical education instructor LuAnn DiRemgio and others, the team cemented the school’s right to display the competition’s traveling trophy for another year, with the school having won last year.
While the rounds revealed tense muscles and clenched teeth, there were also moments of levity, as Brooke Bruin’s mascot and even a group of adults stepped in for some unofficial rounds.
The adults lost their round, although it could have been because they were outnumbered by their younger opponents.
“It’s the one that attracts everyone – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and classmates”, said volunteer Norm Schwertfeger who coordinated the event with the help of Gerry Fluharty.
The event was one of many contests held during the three-day fair.
There was also the Brooke County Queen of Queens contest, a talent show, a mud volleyball tournament involving high school kids, a corn hole tournament, a truck mud race, a demolition derby, various food contest and, new this year, a hula hooping contest hosted by Jessica Strader and contest judging the best mules worn by men, women and children hosted by Hair by Heidi Wood.
When not participating in such contests or observing an assortment of performers, visitors could learn about various aspects of nature or history from guests such as falconer Mick Brown, the blacksmiths from 2 Dogs Forge and various re-enactment groups.
Diane Lucero and other members of the Brooke County West Virginia University Extension Service offered young people a unique way to create their own smoothies: pedal one of four bikes to power a blender attached to their backs.
Fruit and other materials for the smoothies were obtained through donations from Costco, Target and Riesbeck’s Food Stores.
Funded by a grant from West Virginia University’s Health Rocks program, the bikes were also taken to local schools, said Candy Gray, an extension service volunteer.
“There were kids saying they didn’t like to exercise but they would ride those bikes to watch the blender work.” she said, adding many people who said they didn’t like “healthy food” were surprised by the taste of the smoothies and asked for more.
Extension staff also distributed free leftover children’s books from the Energy Express summer reading program and free fruits and vegetables produced by vendors at the Brooke County Farmers Market.
Also in attendance were the owners of Family Roots Farm, who again brought many activities designed to teach children about the role of farms in producing many of the foods we eat every day.
Visitors to their agriculture pavilion could try their hand at “treaty” a fake cow or see a handful of real young turkeys, for example.
Britney Hervey, co-owner of the farm, said the birds mature quickly, with hens reaching up to 20 pounds around 20 weeks after birth and males, called toms, reaching around 30 pounds during this time.
Hervey said many have asked if baby chickens and turkeys can be raised together. She said it was not recommended because each species is prone to its own diseases.
“As far as temperament goes, they are fine. These are the diseases we need to be concerned about,” she says.
There was also a petting zoo, with an alpaca and other animals, and pony rides at the fair.
Wellsburg’s Janet Crawford, who was among the fair’s many visitors, was asked what she liked most about it.
“Food, entertainment – I like everything. And I am grateful to the Lord for the good weather”, she says.
(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])