Gracee Walker

Gracee Walker sits with her pig Priscilla at the Cherokee County Spring Livestock Show.

The Cherokee County Fairgrounds will soon be filled with various members of the animal kingdom, baked goods, culinary treats, artwork, science projects and more, as the 2019 Cherokee County Fair kicks off next Tuesday and runs through Saturday, Sept. 14

Elementary students, high school students, and adults will be participating. The fair has been extended one day this year to allow the Oklahoma State University Cherokee County Extension Office to spread out events.

"Part of it is because of Friday night ballgames and that kind of stuff, so we don't have as much going on Friday night," said Heather Winn, family and consumer science educator and interim Cherokee County 4-H director.

Participants will be entering indoor exhibits Tuesday, to be judged on Wednesday. In the Oklahoma Home and Community Education's open division, adults are invited to submit projects centered around a variety of categories. For example, there are 29 different categories in the arts and crafts portion of the fair, such as woodcrafts, ceramics, bead crafts and paintings. Participants could enter in the floral arrangement, horticulture, photography and other categories.

Meanwhile, the 4-H students are putting up similar projects for the junior divisions. Students can enter into categories like the science and technology division, 4-H wood science and industrial arts division, and model rocketry division. Winn said the indoor exhibit competition is not about how many entries a person can make, but what he or she learns along the way.

"4-H is all about learning life skills, whether it be learning how to sew a button on, or learning how to feed an animal and the responsibility of taking care of something else," she said. "As they get older, they learn more about what they're working on."

Wednesday will feature a full schedule, as indoor exhibits will be judged, cat and dog shows will be held, students will compete in a tractor-driving contest, and a new event this year is a bicycle race. Students are supposed to have their bicycles and helmets to compete. Winn said she and her son will be setting up a course around the fairgrounds, and she expects it to be suited more to cross-country biking.

"We do try to have different events that attract different people," said Winn. "There's three or four different age categories and they win a bicycle if they win their age divisions."

On Thursday, Sept. 12, the turtle race, rabbit show, and poultry shows will be held. The fair is also continuing the cattle-grading contest it started in recent years.

"That one teaches kids to pick animals for the pasture, instead of just focusing on the show side of it," said Winn. "You're actually looking for the best pasture cows - animals that can breed and ones that can be used for market."

The indoor exhibit building will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. 4-H students will also compete in judging contests.

Saturday, the large mammals will make their appearance, as the day will start with the sheep show between 8 and 9 a.m.

It will be followed by the dairy and beef show, the swine show, goat show, and horse show. The OHCE will also host a fashion show that day.

The fairgrounds will be heavily populated by parents and students involved in 4-H or OHCE, but the fair is open to everyone. It's free and a concession stand will be available. It's also not too late to enter exhibits.

For those without ties to the fair, Winn said they might enjoy taking a gander at the exhibits and animals, and it could encourage them to enter into next year's fair.

"It's just enjoyable," she said. "People don't have to pay anything. And then they can look at all the different exhibits out there. It might inspire them to enter something. If they are an amateur photographer, they can come and see what's there and they may choose to enter in the fair next year. If they have a hobby they enjoy, there's probably a category for them."

Get involved

For more information about the 2019 Cherokee County Fair, call 918-456-6163.

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