Opening day for NEA Fair, and big changes are in the air

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -This will be the last year for the NEA District Fair at its present location, before moving North  to its new location near Farville.

Will anything be different for fair goers this year, and what is the feel at the fair, sad, happy, or apprehensive about moving?

Fair Manager Jerry Reese said there is one big obvious change.

Reese, " I think the biggest change you'll see is the grand stand. We are having a professional stage company erect it since there is a restaurant being built where it used to stand."

Another change is the cattle barn which was destroyed by winds this Spring. A huge Circus-like tent houses the cattle that will be shown. Abbie Hall and her mom and sister were in the process of deciding which cows needed to be bathed. Abbie says the tent is different.

Hall, "It's bigger than last year. If it hadn't rained it would be better." There are a few muddy spots inside the tent and around the edges. Hall said she can't really tell if the cows like the tent better.

Hall, " We've been to different barns  but I don't know what the cows think. That's hard to tell."

The official ribbon cutting to open the fair took place at noon. Former County Judge, Roy Bearden whose name is on benches all over the fair grounds says he's looking forward to the new fair grounds.

Bearden, "I've been out there several times and it's coming along good. I think it's going to be great. " Current plans include barns and 1 central Ag and Commercial building.

Bearden says for many, closing day will be kind of tough.

"It's going to be pretty sentimental around here on Saturday." He said. Bearden says he's hoping a lot of seniors will come out on Thursday and share their fair memories with him.

At the Jaycees Snack Shack inside the commercial building volunteers red shirts said they had been cooking burgers there for about 50 plus years. Jeff Deniston says they will still have the Snack Shack with a bit of a newer look.

Deniston, "We'll still have a concession stand just like the one we always had. We'll be on one end of the new commercial building and the Extension Homemakers will have theirs on the other end. "

The midway seemed crowded this year including a display of 2 headed turtles and snakes along with the usual games and rides. I asked Jerry Reese if there were any trouble setting up the midway with the construction going on.

Reese, " Actually it made the midway a little larger. When we moved the cattle down and tore down the arena and fences it made the midway a little larger area to operate off of. "

Reese said everybody is working well together and he looks forward to a great last week in the old location. The fair continues through Saturday night.

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