Lebanon Country Fair gets a makeover

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Tue., Aug. 6, 2013
On Aug. 4, Lions Club member Cal Lathrop works to complete the roof above a new children's stage at the fairgrounds. Photos by Melanie Savage.
On Aug. 4, Lions Club member Cal Lathrop works to complete the roof above a new children's stage at the fairgrounds. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Lebanon First Selectman (and Lions Club member) Joyce Okonuk had paint on her fingertips as she sat under a pavilion at the Lions Club Fairgrounds on Aug. 4. With several other volunteers, Okonuk had been working to refurbish the main office at the fairgrounds in preparation for the 53rd annual Lebanon Country Fair, scheduled to open on Aug. 9.

Several other volunteers worked on other parts of the grounds. There were tractors mowing fields in preparation for parking. There was a group working to repair a roof on the control booth at one of the arenas. Another group worked to complete the roof on the brand new children’s stage in the new and improved Kids Korner. The upper area will still feature attractions such as corn-filled sandboxes, pony rides, a bouncy house and a petting zoo. But the new stage will also feature back-to-back acts geared toward children. There will also be a two-day pig scramble this year geared toward the younger set.

“There will be lots of things for young children to enjoy this year,” said Okonuk, juggling a large stack of multicolored folders.

Also new this year will be a horse arena, hosting a horse show on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We expect the community will be able to get some use out of the arena at other times of the year,” said Chris Darrow, fair superintendent.

Back after many years of absence this year will be a doodlebug pull, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. “That’s back by popular demand,” said Okonuk, as she and Darrow reminisced about watching past pulls.

A new arts and crafts area will host a number of attractions, including Cedar Song Flutes carving and sales, a Robertson antique horse-drawn carriages display and Sheep to Shawl wool demonstrations. There will be blacksmith demonstrations, chainsaw-carving, maple syrup and honey-making demonstrations. Darrow suggested that the exhibits will help visitors make a connection with local farmers. “They’ll get to see live demonstrations that they might not otherwise get to see,” he said.

The fair’s center stage will host a number of different events, beginning with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. on Aug. 9, followed by the Miss Lebanon Fair pageant at 7:30 p.m. This year’s pageant will be hosted by Miss Connecticut Kaitlyn Tarpey. The Little Miss Lebanon Fair pageant takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. Among the many other acts appearing on the center stage are: The Jessica Prouty Band (Friday, 9 to 11 p.m.); cover band Run for Cover (Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m.); blues band The King Cake Band (Saturday, 3 to 5 p.m.); and Branded (Saturday, 9 to 11 p.m.).

Fair favorites will also be returning, including animal judging, competition and demonstrations, adult and children’s games, and a horseshoe tournament.

“We’ve come up with some things that will provide for a staycation type of event,” said Darrow. “It’s an extreme value for families.”

"We are so excited about opening up the new face of the Lebanon Fair," added Okonuk. "We've kept all of our country and added more."

The Lebanon Country Fair is open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11. The fairgrounds are located on Mack Road in Lebanon. For a complete listing of fair events and other details, check out the brand new website at lebanoncountryfair.org.

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