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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's raining fairs and storming on the Browns

Thursday, August 9, 2012

People often complain there is nothing to do around here -- but, this week (Aug. 6 to 11), the problem is, there is so much going on at once, it is hard to decide what to do.

The Fulton County Fair began its run on Aug 6, while the Izard County Fair opened Aug. 7. If that isn't enough, the 119th Old Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Air Force Reunion also began a six day run on Aug. 6 in Mammoth Spring.

Fulton County Fair Manager Carolyn Lewis said a "miscommunication" led to the Fulton and Izard County Fairs landing on the same week.

Last year, because it changed carnival operators, the Fulton County Fair had to delay its run until the last week of August -- that was the open week in the carnival's schedule. Izard County then switched places, moving from the last week of August to take the second week of the month, Fulton County's usual spot.

According to Lewis, the two fairs did not discover until January that they had both scheduled their 2012 fairs for the week of Aug. 6.

Both organizations have pledged to communicate better after their fairs end and the dust settles, to make sure they are not in competition next year.

Lewis said there are about 2,200 Fulton County Fair entries this year, down a bit from recent years, she believes, because heat and drought have taken their toll on gardens, reducing gardening -- related entries. There are also fewer livestock entries, because some who would usually enter the Fulton County Fair, have committed their week to Izard County.

Since the Izard County Fair is running the same week as Fulton County's, Fulton County has had to come up with some new judging teams. Judges from ICC and Calico Rock, who usually judge for Fulton County, are tied up with their home fair.

"Won't happen again," is Lewis' hope, after this year's glitch.

Lewis adds the fair board would prefer that two big events -- the fair and Mammoth Spring's Soldier, Sailor, etc. Reunion -- were not going on at the same time either. But, several years ago, Mammoth Spring moved its event from around Aug. 1 to Fulton County's week. Both have apparently survived without any problem, except for the one created for residents -- which event to attend?

I guess one of the fun things to do during the fair and festival week would be to go to all three fairs and check out the three carnival midways to see which one is best.

The biggest challenge to hitting them all would be stretching your budget enough to afford three fairs in one week. Admission, carnival rides, food, drink and other temptations would add up fast.

Lewis wanted to clarify last issue's commentary about the newly air conditioned Theater Building. Because of its age, the fair board decided not to use a used air handler donated by the hospital. Instead, Wayne Guiltner, of Guiltner Heating and Air Conditioning, who installed the new system, also donated three used a/c units he had in stock.

That storm which blew through Fulton County on Wednesday, Aug. 1 was a little scary -- especially since it was so unexpected.

The strong winds, which arrived first, were followed by heavy, brief rain -- and left trees, limbs and some power lines down, and knocked out power to most of Salem. The storm also damaged or tore off roofs of homes, businesses and farm buildings and caused lots of other damage, especially north of Viola.

North Arkansas Electric did a great job of quickly restoring power to most areas, and, by dark, emergency crews had removed trees and limbs from streets and roads, and traffic was flowing -- allowing gawkers to clog them up checking out the aftermath.

The storm was especially -- what's the best word? -- frustrating, infuriating, puzzling, to Dennis and Donna Brown of Viola, who have now gotten whacked twice in two weeks.

On July 19, another pop-up storm, which seem to hit just a few scattered areas, landed with both feet on the Brown's farm. The roof to their home was damaged to the point it had to be replaced, and a barn was torn apart, with winds scattering roofing, siding and debris as far as a half mile away.

By the end of July, the roof on their home had been replaced and, on Aug. 1, Dennis brought in a trailer to store tools and other items salvaged from the blown down barn. He dug a hole to put it in, so it would be at ground level, nice and secure.

Early evening, Aug. 1, was when the latest surprise storm hit -- and the Brown's were really, really surprised. The wind picked up the just-filled trailer and tossed it on its side, leaving Dennis' work in shambles and causing other new damage on the farm. A short distance away, the roof was blown off the home of their son's family.

Dennis said recent events have been "strange," to say the least. They built their house in 1976, and haven't had any problems to speak of -- except for the last two weeks.

Donna said she told her husband they were "being tested."

I suggested they've now endured their fair share of storm trauma -- and should be good for 30-years or so.

Our strange summer continues...