By Tim Gardner
The annual Avery County Agriculture and Horticulture Fair was held September 4-7 at the Heritage Park property on Vale Road in Newland. The event’s director, B.J. Beuttell described it as a smash success, mainly a result of having approximately double the people attending compared to last year’s.
Beutell said a total of 7,080 went through the Fair gates for its four days this year. Between 3,000-4,000 attended the 2018 Fair, which ran five days.
“I believe everyone involved with the Fair is pleased about how everything went off this year,” Beuttell declared. “Fortunately, there was beautiful weather each day of the Fair and our attendance was among the best we’ve ever had. And it was the very best we’ve had in probably the last 20 years, With all considerations, the Fair was a great success.”
Whether a person is an enthusiast of agriculture, arts and crafts, animal husbandry or traditional ways of living, the Fair offered the Avery County’s best in all categories, along with some other special happenings. From the thrilling rides and various games for kids to the alluring displays in the livestock, farm and home tents and various competitions, the Fair was fun for people of all ages and interests. Many who attended entered their livestock, produce, crafts, quilts, woodworking, cakes, pies and more for the chance to win prizes. And nearly two dozen vendors had booths at the Fair. There also was entertainment from provided by cloggers, musical bands and an “open mic” stage of local performers. There was even a beauty pageant on the fair’s final day.
A raffle also was held for a 2019 Coleman Lantern LT Camper worth $26,000. The winner was determined in a reverse drawing in which the last ticket drawn was the winning one. Wayne Brewer was the grand prize winner of the camper.
But Beuttell said the fair’s primary purpose “is always about education.” She added: “It’s a family-oriented event known for the preservation of the mountain heritage that has long been a way of life for people Avery County and throughout the entire High Country. The Avery A&H Fair also stresses how agriculture and horticulture have played a major part in our communities throughout generations.”
Proceeds from the Avery A&H Fair have provide funding for the Lindsay Beuttell and Avery A&H Fair Scholarships given to local students as well as to cover the operating costs for the annual event.
Founded in 1992, and with the cooperation of Avery County’s Government, the local North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and the community members who volunteer to operate it, the Avery County A&H Fair has been a mainstay among the North Carolina High Country’s most popular celebrations and festivities.
Next year’s Avery A&H Fair dates will be announced soon, according to Beuttell.
The complete list of winners from the 2019 Fair’s Livestock Shows provided courtesy of Avery A&H Fair Assistant Rhonda Bledsoe Arnold follows:
Wednesday, September 4
Grand Champion – Knox Young, age 7
2nd place – Chloe “Addie” Oaks, age 11
3rd place – Avery Arnold, age 8
4-H Chick to Chicken Project Show
Grand Champion – Chloe “Addie” Oaks, age 11
2nd place – Sypris Dark, age 10
3rd place – Annslee Arnold, age 9
Thursday, September 5
Dairy Goat Show
Grand Champion – June Young, age 6
2nd place – Branson Young, age 5
High Country Goat Show
Grand Champion – Sypris Dark, age 10
Friday, September 6
Horse Halter Show
Grand Champion – Avery Arnold, age 8, with Shetland Pony “Walker”
Reserve Champion – Kella Clark, age 13, with miniature horse “Sugar Baby”
1st place – Hannah Townsend, age 8, with Palomino “Junior”
2nd place – Amy LaFave, age 12, with Norwegian Fjord “ViVi”
3rd place – Annslee Arnold, age 9, with Paint Pony “Ranger”
Saturday, September 7
Dairy Calf Show
1st place – Jay English, age 14, with Holstein heifer calf
2nd place – Mollie Shell, age 16, with Holstein heifer calf
Dairy Yearling Show
1st place – Avery Arnold, age 8, with Jersey heifer “Callie”
2nd place – Annslee Arnold, age 9, with Jersey steer “Wilson”
3rd place – Cora Lee Hollifield, age 14, with Jersey heifer “Hallie”
Dairy Cow Show
1st place – Chloe “Addie” Oaks, age 11, with Jersey cow “Daisy”
2nd place – Caitlin Oaks, age 8, with Jersey cow “Valentino”
Beef Cattle Show
1st place – Annslee Arnold, age 9, with Jersey steer “Wilson”
2nd place – Alexis Haffner, age 15, with Highlander bull “Bonus”
Grand Champion – Avery Arnold, age 8, with Jersey heifer “Callie”
Reserve Champion – Chloe “Addie” Oaks, age 11, with Jersey cow “Daisy”