We speak of the ninth annual Foothills Country Fair, another of the many family-friendly events hosted at the popular Tri-State Exhibition Center. This year’s theme is “Boots, Zoo and BBQ.”
Thursday’s official opening — from 5:30 to 9 p.m. — is for the colorful and exciting pageants, as well as the fun-filled amusements of the carnival. The excitement kicks into full gear Friday as gates will be open to the public from 4 to 10 p.m., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Why check out this year’s Foothills Country Fair?
Well, for starters ...
Five pageants will top the charts Thursday and will include Wee Miss, Little Miss, Fair Princess, Junior Fairest of the Fair and Fairest of the Fair. That’s some pretty fair entertainment by anyone’s estimation.
Music will fill the air. On Friday, concerts include Bartlee Norton and 64 Highway at 7 p.m., Joe Collins and the Collins Brothers Band at 8 p.m. and Shenandoah at 9 p.m. On Saturday, another series of concerts kicks off at 7 p.m. featuring Convertibull, Timiethea Delaney and The Dexter Thomas Band.
Diverse entertainment will rule the roost Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday will be dedicated to a variety of small stage events and contests; a kids area will provide some joy for the young at heart and pint of size, and the Caywood Karate Demonstration will deliver a few blows as well.
Food aromas to tickle the fancy of many palates will be in the mix each day as well. Obviously, one of the most anticipated is the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned Backyard Barbecue Contest when some 71 professional teams of BBQ combatants will square off for $10,000 in prize money. For a $5 ticket, fair attendees can participate in the People’s Choice Barbecue Contest from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday; that is, they can sample the tasty work of the professionals. Amateur BBQ cooks also will be featured Saturday afternoon.
Prime BBQ, whether prepared by the pros or from home recipes, won’t be the only fare at the fair. Some of the food vendors at this year’s event who will work hard to appease Country Fair appetites will include Bob’s Hamburgers, Carousel Concessions, Almost Famous Kettlecorn, Dixon’s Dawgs, Dano’s Hotdogs, Big Gulley BBQ, Kona Ice of Chattanooga, Ole Country Market, Ear It Is! Roasted Corn, E&E Concessions, Big ‘O’ Concessions, All American Concessions, Freckled Reds, Lackey Concessions, Mendola’s Pizza, Mercy Tabernacle, Evelyn’s Ice Cream, Daley’s Delights and Southern Dae LLC.
It’s not all about the food as crafting vendors will be selling their ware. A few include The Cottage Crafters, Blessed Boutique, Meeks Uniques, Cross Your Heart Bows and More, Clara $ Elsie Crafts, B&R Creative Crafts, Dee’s Crafts & Things, Lucille’s Linens, Dixie Home Crafters and Nana’s Stitches & Stokes.
Entertainment will also get a little raucous. A fair favorite is the Demolition Derby Saturday at 7 p.m. and lawnmower racing Sunday at 2 p.m. Oh, and don’t forget the Big Wheel Races Sunday at 4 p.m. for young dragsters ages 3 to 11.
Fair goers have the choice of buying a $10 General Admission pin for all four days. Otherwise, entry Friday for adults is $10, and $3 for children ages 6-12. On Saturday and Sunday, adult entry is $5, and $3 for children. Children under 6 are admitted free. Active military are admitted free with ID. Parking is free each day.
Kudos to the all-volunteer team of nine area Ruritan clubs bringing the Foothills Country Fair to Cleveland.
It’s hard work, but it’s family friendly.
It’s yet another reason why “The City With Spirit” and Bradley County, to quote Mayors Tom Rowland and D. Gary Davis, are Tennessee at its best.