End of Warren County Fair an opportunity
WARRENTON — The Warren County Fair, a community fixture for more than three-quarters of a century, is calling it quits.
The Warrenton Lions Club, sponsor of the fair, has announced that it will discontinue the event.
David Proctor, a longtime member of the Lions Club, managed the fair for the last three years.
“We couldn’t get a contractor,” he said. “The guy who had it last year said he didn’t make any money.”
Roy Pat Robertson said he had been working on the fair every year since 1976, the year he joined the Lions Club after aging out of the Jaycees.
“It’s hard to get the fair people to come into a small town like this,” he said.
Macon Robertson agreed.
“It’s based on attendance,” he said. “They told us they needed at least 6,000 people to attend. We don’t have enough traffic. We’ve had 3,000 — 3,500 at the most.”
Proctor said the fair had become an institution in the county.
“It’s run every year since 1936 except during the war,” he said.
Doreen Porter, of Lickskillet Dog Grooming and Training, said she had learned online that the fair was being discontinued.
“There is so little for children to do and the fair offered them some good entertainment,” she said. “It’s one less thing for children to do. It’s really sad.”
But the Lions Club is not getting out of the business of sponsoring community events. The club and the Warren County Jaycees will cosponsor a beach music festival Sept. 20 on the grounds of the Lions Den on Ridgeway Street.
“We felt we needed to offer some kind of event for the community,” Macon Robertson said. “It can kill two birds with one stone: provide entertainment for the participants and generate revenue for the projects we do in the community.”
Warren County Jaycees President Joey Ross gave a brief overview of the beach music festival.
“We’ll have the Steve Owen Band and The Konnection Band,” he said. “Tickets will be $20 in advance and $25 at the gate.”
The organizations are seeking sponsors for the event.
“We hope to make it an annual event,” Ross said.
Woody King said he was thrilled the two groups are sponsoring a community-wide festival in September.
“That’s wonderful,” he said.
It will be the month before the Harvest Festival sponsored by the Warrenton Downtown Revitalization Committee, which King chairs.
Ernie Fleming praised the shift to a festival as a positive response.
“At least they’re looking at something else to do,” he said. “That’s encouraging. They’re not just throwing up their hands.”
Fleming, of Oakley Hall Antiques, has actively promoted tourism in Warren County. He pointed out that Warren County offers a number of events, such as the Ridgeway Cantaloupe Festival and the Harvest Festival. The beach music festival will now be added to that list.
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