7/14/2017 3:32:00 PM Big name, big stage Jackson County Fair kicks off this weekend, Clay Walker concert upcoming
Pictured is the newly constructed concrete stage which will be in use for the first time at the upcoming Jackson County Fair. The new stage is 140 feet long and 30 feet wide and covers the entire length of the grandstand. It will dwarf the old stage which was only 28 feet long and 25 feet wide. The new stage was paid for by local funds and made possible by a large donation from WesBanco. Consequently, it will be known as the WesBanco Main Stage. The stage will provide the platform for the much anticipated Clay Walker concert on Saturday night, July 22. (Telegram Photo By Phillip Buffington)
The Jackson County Fair has pulled in yet another big country-music name to serve as the featured entertainment act for the 2017 edition -- and he will be performing on a new and much larger stage at the grandstand.
The performer and the new stage are two of the headline stories for this year's Jackson County Fair, which is scheduled for Friday, July 14 through Saturday, July 22 at the fairgrounds, located off Driving Park Road in Wellston.
Fair Board members have been committed the past several years to booking a "name" country music singer for the fair and landed Sammy Kershaw two years ago and Tracy Lawrence last year. This year, the leadership is absolutely thrilled with getting Clay Walker as the featured star for a major concert.
Walker's concert has been penciled in for the fair's finale evening on Saturday, July 22. Walker's 9 p.m. performance will be preceded by a performance at 7:30 p.m. by a regional favorite band, Crossroad Station.
"We did an online survey and chose five or six big names that were all within our budget," Fair Board Vice President Christopher Smalley reported, "and Clay Walker was heads and shoulders above everybody else."
"His management accepted our offer, but it's the most expensive show we've had any year."
VIP tickets, which provide concert seating in the first six rows as well as other privileges, are already sold out. However, track seating is still available for an additional $15 per person and offers premium seating on the track in front of the stage. The $15 price does not cover the general-admission price of $10 in effect for that day. Seating in the grandstand for the concert, which is open to those who purchase general-admission tickets, will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
While Clay Walker will be the big attraction on that big Saturday night, the stage he will be standing on will likely draw some positive attention as well. The old concrete-slab stage which has been in place for the past 27 years, has been replaced by a new and much larger stage, which will better accommodate the acts needing a larger performance area. The old stage was 28 feet by 25 feet while the new one is 140 feet long and 30 feet wide.
"The new stage runs the entire length of the grandstand," Smalley observed. "This will provide us more room for activities and open up many possibilities. We've wanted to get these larger musical acts and they need a larger area."
Local money, bolstered especially by a generous local contribution from WesBanco, has helped meet the $10,000 total cost. The new stage will officially be known as the WesBanco Main Stage.
There are two other major physical improvements which have been made to the fairgrounds, both of which have been funded partially by grants.
A grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture has paid for a complete overhaul of the lighting at the fairgrounds. Smalley says every single light has been replaced with the higher-efficiency and brighter LED lights. Local businesses, West Virginia Electric and Stewart Electric, lent their professional expertise to this project.
"These new lights are energy-efficient and provide better lighting," Smalley reported. "When they're all on, it's very impactful."
Also, a state Natureworks grant has resulted in some major improvements to the campgrounds facilities, including a Jungle Jim playground area and a new chip-and-seal road through the campground, which should help cut down on dust.
As always the Fair Board appreciates all the sponsors and volunteers whose support make the county fair possible. Day sponsors this year are: Brown-Foreman Cooperage, General Mills, Holzer Health System, Walmart of Jackson, WesBanco, and David Furbee's office of Edward Jones.
Royalty Crowned Sunday
The Opening Fair Ceremony, set for 5 p.m. Sunday, July 16 at the WesBanco Bandstand, serves as the official kickoff event for the Jackson County Fair. There will be important announcements and presentations, but the highlight moment will come when the 2017 queen is announced and crowned.
Three finalists were named in a Queens Contest held Saturday, June 10, but the name of the queen was withheld until the fair's opening night. The finalists are Haley Jo Sexton, Lauren Gardner and Kylee Castle.
The younger-level royalty members were not only chosen, but announced as the result of separate pageants. Abigail Meldick is the grades 8-9-10 attendant, Elizabeth Allison is the grades 6-7 attendant, and Jasmine Clarkson is the grades 4-5 attendant. Also, Katie Ross is the Little Miss Jackson County Fair and Sam Gentry is the Little Mister Jackson County Fair.
Other Fair Highlights
Other prime-time highlights on the Jackson County Fair schedule this year will be a Tractor/Truck Pull at 6 p.m. Sunday, a Greased Pig Competition at 9 p.m. Monday, the Diamond J Rodeo at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, a Freestyle Motocross and BMX Stunt Show at 7 p.m. Wednesday, a Monster Truck Entertainment and Tough Truck Competition at 7 p.m. Thursday, and a Demolition Derby at 7 p.m. Friday.
On the junior fair side, there will be shows and competitions throughout the week, culminating in the Junior Fair Livestock Sale at 3 p.m. Friday. The sale order this year will be: Rabbits, chickens, turkeys, hogs, market beef feeders, lambs, goats, dairy market feeders, and steers.
For the many non-livestock projects which are also part of 4-H and the fair, the big event will be the presentation of General Project awards at 5 p.m. Monday at the Show Arena.
Admission Prices Varying
Single-day admission to this year will be at three different rates, depending on the day. The cost for the pre-weekend days on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15, will be $5. Harness racing will be the main attraction with sessions set for 7 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday.
The single-day admission price for Sunday, July 16 through Thursday, July 20 will be $8 per person. The admission price for Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 will be $10 per person.
There will be special admission prices in effect for certain groups on certain days. Monday, July 17 is Kids Day and children ages 12 and younger will be admitted for free and ride the rides for free as long as they are accompanied by an adult. The rides will begin operating at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 18 is Senior Citizens Day and those ages 60 and older will be admitted for $5 until 4 p.m. A driver's license or Golden Buckeye Card will suffice for proof of age. Friday, July 21 is Veterans Day and all veterans will be admitted free with a military or Veterans Administration identification card.