The fun at the St. Clair County fair kicks off Thursday

News-DemocratAugust 7, 2013 

The St. Clair County Fair exposition hall will be a hotbed of creativity this weekend.

County residents will display food, crafts, paintings, flower arrangements, dolls, wood carvings, artwork and other locally made items for judging.

"We have about 20 quilts and, oh my gosh, we have some gorgeous ones," said fair board president Kay Weber. "They took weeks and months to do."

Shirley Deitz, 79, of Belleville, baked six desserts, including chocolate fudge.

"I made it with the old cocoa recipe that used to be on the Hershey's cocoa can," she said.

Deitz also entered a chocolate cake, pecan pie, baking powder biscuits, molasses cookies and zucchini bread.

Most recipes came from her collection of vintage Betty Crocker cookbooks.

"I've been a Betty Crocker cook since I got married in 1952," she said.

Patty Bearth, 55, of Belleville, entered 10 items in the fine arts and textiles category.

"I raise alpacas, so I use alpaca yarn and alpaca fiber," she said.

Bearth is a fair board member who has been going to the fair and entering contests since she was a child.

Her most notable handmade item this year is a shawl.

"I started with a scarf and laid some alpaca, goat and sheep fibers on it, (creating) a design that looks like flowers," she said. "Then I needle-felted the fibers to it."

The fair kicked off Wednesday and runs through Sunday at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds and Exposition Center in Belleville.

Activities include carnival rides, livestock judging, a rooster-crowing contest, a Dress the Dog contest, a pedal tractor pull, talent show, vendor booths and concession stands.

"This year, we have some real nice antique Harley Davidson motorcycles that are going to be displayed," said Belle-Clair general manager Allen Wandling. "You don't see those every day."

Also new this year is Kohl's Safety Street, an interactive exhibit from St. Louis Children's Hospital.

"It's going to be set up like a little town," Wandling said. "And it's supposed to teach children how to cross the street (and give other safety tips)."

This year's arena events include flat-track motorcycle races tonight, stock-car races Friday, a demolition derby Saturday and POWRi midget races Sunday.

Fair admission is free, although charges apply to arena events and carnival rides. Parking costs $4 a car.

"To me, the animals are always neat," Weber said. "Especially for city people, they're not used to being around (farm) animals."

Her favorite livestock display is the rooster house.

"You wouldn't believe how many different varieties of roosters there are," she said. "It's unbelievable."

Weber tapped Makayla Smith, 19, of Belleville, to be a talent judge this year.

Smith won the youth contest in 2003 by singing, "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" from the Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun."

"I love singing," she said. "It's always been my passion."

Smith sees the contest as a great opportunity for local children and adults to perform and for the public to enjoy singing, dancing, magic and other acts.

"There are so many kids who have so much talent," she said. "And I think that's awesome."

At a glance

What: St. Clair County Fair

When: 6 to 10 p.m. today and Friday, 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday

Where: Belle-Clair Fairgrounds and Exposition Center, 200 S. Belt West in Belleville (near Illinois 13 and 159)

Admission: Free

Parking: $4

Arena events: $12 motorcycle races and demolition derby; $15 stock-car races and POWRi midgets (all free for children 12 and younger)

Information: 618-235-0666 or bcfairgrounds.net

TODAY

8 a.m. -- Sheep judging, followed by goat and swine judging

6 p.m. -- Exposition hall open

6 p.m. -- Carnival rides open (individual tickets or all-you-can-ride for $20)

6 p.m. -- Rooster-crowing contest

6:30 p.m. -- Motorcycle flat-track races

7 p.m. -- Pedal tractor pull

7 p.m. -- Youth talent contest (junior division)

7 p.m. -- Kohl's Safety Street

FRIDAY

8:30 a.m. -- Beef cattle judging

1 p.m. -- Dairy cattle judging

6 p.m. -- Exposition hall open

6 p.m. -- Carnival rides open

6:30 p.m. -- Kenny Shrum 100 stock-car races

7 p.m. -- Youth talent contest (senior division), followed by open talent contest

7 p.m. -- Kohl's Safety Street

SATURDAY

2 p.m. -- Exposition hall open

2 p.m. -- Carnival rides open

3 to 4 p.m. -- Entertainment by R.J. Krause All-Stars Sports Club

6 p.m. -- Dress the Dog contest

6:30 p.m. -- Demolition derby

6:30 p.m. -- Kohl's Safety Street

SUNDAY

1 to 6 p.m. -- Carnival rides open (all rides one ticket for Family Bargain day)

6:30 p.m. -- National POWRi midgets and outlaw micros

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