68th Annual Highland County Fair

“I’m Aaron Sponaugle, and I’ve been with the Highland County Fair Association now for probably five or six years, as a co-manager of the fair  –  it’s one of my duties here in the county I thoroughly enjoy.”

“Who’s the other manager?”

“Mike Isles. He’s been there longer than I have.  R.C. Pullin was there before I was, and I think he decided to step down. I kind of filled that role, and I don’t know if I was voluntarily or what, but I filled that role anyway. And I do enjoy it.”

And those co-managers will be busy this week as the Highland County Fair gets underway.

“This is the 68th Annual Highland County Fair. And we’re getting ready kick that thing off Tuesday, the exhibits going in and so forth, and people bringing things in. The vendors are set up, the rides are set up already, so it looks like fair time over there right now.”

“Wednesday evening there, about 6:00, we’ll kick off the parade. That’s kind of the opening to the fair, you know, brings everybody to the fairgrounds and that’s a good thing, you know, everybody gets excited for the parade, the kids and so forth. So be sure to get out and see that –  get your lawn chair up along the road, whatever, and check that out. And Wednesday night is also Family Night where really this has a reduced fee for the rides, and I believe the Fair Association pays the difference, in that they want to do that for the kids. So bring your kids out and let them let them ride and get rid of some of that energy.

“The big thing Wednesday is a Figure – eight Derby we’re doing with four cylinder cars, so that should be plenty entertaining – a lot of action there and people looking forward to it,I think. So see how that goes. That’s new for this year.”

“And then, of course on Thursday, a couple of highlighted things. We have the Sheep and Goat show at 10:00 am in the morning. That’s always kind of a favorite for people to come in and watch that. And then Thursday evening, we have the R&R Demolition Derby at 7:30. It’s always a crowd favorite – a  lot of participation in that.”

“Friday morning in the gym, at 10:00 am, we kick that off with the Kiddie Show. And at 4:30, we have the sheep costume contest at the barn, and the pet classes also. So, I know my daughter, she’s involved in that, so I’m not sure how that’ll go. But everybody likes it – it’s fun.”

“On Friday from 5:00 to 6:30 Friday evening we have the Elvis concert. Elvis will be in the building over there – actually in a tent, but he will be there. So we have that under the big tent,  and at 6:00 pm we’ll start the tractor and diesel Truck and Tractor Pull.”

“Kick off Saturday morning with the Dog Show- that is at 9:00 am at the grandstand area, and then from 11:30 to 2:30, we have bluegrass music under the tent where Elvis was, with Southern Rail Express and your own DJ Willie. And then at 2:00 Saturday, we have the 4-H and Livestock Sale. So I know it gives a lot of the sponsors and the businesses here in the community and around that, you know they come buy the kids’ animals, and that’s always a big deal – you know, that helps the kids out.”

“We round out the evening with the gas truck Truck Pulls. No tractors Saturday, it’s all pickup trucks. So that should be a good show too.”

I asked Aaron, as a native who grew up in Highland County, what the fair meant to him.

“Oh goodness, ah, I don’t know, just my childhood I guess you know, that’s the biggest thing, you know, when I go to the fair, it just kind of takes me back to when I was a kid you know. And I want to keep that going you know, I want to keep that going for the kids nowadays. And maybe they’ll feel the same way one of these days. So fair means a lot to me, you know, your youth is probably your best part of your life, it was for me anyway you know, so I associate the fair with that.”

“And if anybody wants more information on it, they can go to to www.highlandcountyfairva.com or the Facebook page, which is Highland County Fair, Virginia.”

Also Scott, I wanted to touch, you know, on the volunteer base a little bit, of what it takes to put this fair up here on you know – it takes a small army, it really does. You know, a lot of the people in the community enjoy the fair, really put the fair on, you know, I don’t know how much they get to enjoy it. There’s a lot of hard work goes into that, a lot of behind the scenes stuff, and without our volunteers and our clubs, it just wouldn’t be possible. So it’s important to, you know, volunteer where you can, help out where you can, and join those clubs if you have time, and not just for the fair – they do a lot of other stuff good in the community. So that’s where we need to be.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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