Wednesday’s heat and humidity wasn’t enough to keep locals away as hundreds of residents turned out to kick off Red River County’s annual fair.

“It’s a bit hot for my liking, but we wouldn’t miss it,” festivalgoer Wanda Downs said after the fair’s evening parade. “We come each year and wouldn’t miss it just for the heat. It’s really great that such a small town is able to host an event like this.”

Fair Committee secretary Frankie Ervin and junior rabbit superintendent Brandie Long said they’d heard several people throughout the day comment on the heat, but despite the temperatures, they didn’t notice any dip in turnout. In fact, Long said she noticed the opposite.

“On the first day, we’d sort of seen attendance go down a little over the last few years, but this year it actually climbed back up,” Long said. “So I’m really pleased with the turnout I’ve seen.”

The Red River County Fair has been an annual tradition for decades, and for many, the event is at the heart of countless cherished moments.

“I’d say the fair is one of the best things the county has,” County Judge L.D. Williamson said. “It’s a sort of homecoming.”

“I’ve been coming to this fair since I was just a little girl, and I’m 72 years old now,” Downs said. “One of my favorite parts is reconnecting with old friends, seeing who’s married who, who’s had babies since last year, that sort of thing.”

In the evening, people lined Highway 82 and Main Street for the fair parade, which featured floats for businesses, churches and organizations; a number of antique and muscle cars; several fair participants on horseback and more.

“The parade is great for how it involves a whole bunch of different people in the community,” Downs said. “The schools and the businesses all come together and it’s nice.”

The fair has a little something for everyone. In addition to the animal exhibits and contests, the fair also features several carnival rides and games as well.

“I like the food, but my kids really like the rides, the candy apples, that sort of thing,” attendee Kitrea Lockhart said.

For Williamson, the highlight of the fair is the musical entertainment each night. On Wednesday, fair attendees were treated to the tunes of the Rhythmatics.

Today, the fair continues with agriculture exhibits and the commercial heifers and beef show. The ag exhibit building opens at 1 p.m., with the goat show and sheep show at 6 p.m., and musical entertainment at 7 p.m.

On Friday, the festivities begin at 8 a.m., with the swine show. Friday will also include the silent auction at 9 a.m. Music entertainment begins at 7 p.m. and the youth dummy roping contest starts at 7:30.

On Saturday, the day begins at 6 a.m., with the release of non-sale swine. The exhibit buildings open at 9 a.m. Premium payout will run from 2 to 3 p.m. The kiddie livestock class also begins at 3 p.m. At 6 p.m., the silent auction for ag mechanics ends and the market livestock premium sale begins. Music will begin at 7 p.m.

The fair concludes Sunday with check-out and tear-down.

“You want to see some animals, you want to ride some fair rides, you want cotton candy and other great food — come on out,” Ervin said. “The fair has a little bit of everything and it doesn’t cost anything to park and come in.”

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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