MONMOUTH — Paul Fox has been involved with putting on the Monmouth Fair since 1966, but the small country event still gives him a charge each year.

Before he retired, Fox spent vacations getting the grounds ready. He’s still there nights and weekends. He’ll likely to be the one who answers the phone when you call.

It’s a lot of work.

“We all look forward to it and are damn glad when it’s over,” Fox said.

The fair, which runs Wednesday through Saturday, is celebrating its 102nd year. “I wasn’t around back then,” Fox pointed out.

Fox will be just one of the familiar faces and events regular fairgoers will see when they return to the grounds off Academy Road. The “little fair with a lotta pull,” as it has been called, will feature pulls of all manner of vehicle and species, from the steer and oxen pull to the pedal tractor pull for youngsters at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The winner will walk away with a new pedal tractor.

“They all get something,” Fox said. “They don’t go away empty-handed.”

Fair Secretary Laura Foulke said at least 18 bicycles will be given away this year.

Organizers have added a third pig scramble, there will be a frying-pan throwing contest for women and a hay-bale throwing contest for men, both at 7 p.m., Wednesday, and beano.

Fair organizers this year have also introduced scarecrow contests.

Those who would rather unwind to some music can listen to Emerald Sky, Steve and The Good ‘Ole Boys, Cold Blue Steel and Bad Penny, who will play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Even with a fair celebrating 102 years, there is usually something new. This year’s introductions include a midway provided by Kavanaugh Amusements, a company that is making its first appearance at the fair.

This year also will feature a first-ever herding demonstration by dogs, to be held at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday in the show ring.

The National Horse Barrel Association Show, introduced last year, is making a return this year and will be even bigger. “That’s a big draw,” Foulke said.

The fair will, for the first time, host a farmer’s market all four days. The market, under a tent near the small animal barn, will feature different growers and demonstrations for children.

Beano, and Saturday night’s bean hole bean supper, are popular attractions making a return this year, Fox said. Firefighters have taken over running the supper, he said.

Foulke said the fair began when farming was a staple of the area and continues to serve as a reminder of days gone by, while also paying homage to the working farms that remain today.

“It’s a tradition,” she said. “It’s a way to show children the way it used to be.”

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