Despite the threat of Covid-19 and the untimely death of long-time former executive director Rita Jane Haynes, the historic Red River Valley Fair begins Wednesday for a four-day run at the Lamar County Fairgrounds.
“We won’t have any inside exhibits except in the Coliseum, and we are encouraging face masks and social distancing,” newly named executive director Steve Tucker said as he lamented the death of his mentor, whose funeral is scheduled at 11 a.m. Monday at the fair’s outdoor stage, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. “We are going to miss her, but Rita Jane would want the fair to go on as planned.”
The Paris-Lamar County Health District is offering free Covid vaccines for patrons 12 years and older outside Building B across from the livestock barn each night, Tucker said.
“They are giving coupons for carnival armbands to anyone getting the vaccine,” Tucker said. “That should get some moms’ and dads’ attention.”
Dale Cummings and his 50s music will be on stage at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday followed at 8 p.m. by Stacy Musgrove & The Stoney Creek Band, who will return Thursday night in place of fair headliner Gene Watson and The Farewell Party Band, quarantined because of the coronavirus. The Daniel Hines Family Gospel show performs at 8 p.m. Friday night and local musician Matt Doyal and Vinyl Rewind will take the stage for a Saturday night performance featuring 70s and 80s rock beginning at 8 p.m.
Outside commercial exhibits will be featured daily beginning at 6 p.m., and on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m., with the Pumpkin Patch, the Home & Garden Showcase and Bees and Beekeeping Education in the Coliseum scheduled simultaneously.
Specialty acts include Ponies and Pals Petting Zoo, Cato’s Antique Car, Those Funny Little People, Jungle Patrol, GellyBall and Sonny “The Birdman.”
An expanded list of food vendors will include specialty coffee and drinks, a variety of Mexican foods, hamburgers, barbeque, gyros, corn dogs, turkey legs, curly fries, funnel cakes, candies, dippin dots,snowcones and more.
Livestock exhibitors begin arriving Friday afternoon for a swine show at 6 p.m. in the main livestock barn and on Saturday for a cattle show at 10:30 a.m. in the livestock barn with lamb and goat shows in livestock barn #3.
Carnival armbands are $25 for Wednesday and Thursday and on Saturday from 11 a.m-4 p.m. Bands are $30 on Friday and from 5 p.m. on Saturday. General fair admission is $5 with children 6 years and under free. Gate admission Saturday is free from 11 a.m-4 p.m.