Child’s eye view of the Fair

Published 3:08 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

Fairgoers young and old enjoyed the Isle of Wight County Fair’s vibrant sights, sounds and snacks as it opened for its 25th year. 

Some of the Fair visitors’ favorite eats included funnel cake, chicken wings, shaved ice and “elephant ears.” 

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Elementary school children and senior citizens — 55 and older — gained admission for just $1 on Sept. 13, and swaths of grandparents turned out with their grandchildren. 

Isle of Wight County Schools elementary students also attended the Fair by the busloads.

 “It’s awesome that they open it up to elementary schools during the day,” said Smithfield resident Carla Hughes as her grandson Andrew Swanhaus and fellow Carrollton Elementary School 2nd grader Grayson Walter waited in line for another ride on the Wind Jammer. 

The metal ride was situated between a Ferris wheel and carousel and shaped like a spider, rotating its extended seats around on an axis while lifting riders up and down in the air. 

Although she lived in Newport News last September when the Fair was cancelled, Hughes said that she was still disappointed back then since that city doesn’t have a Fair like the one in Isle of Wight. 

Another fairgoer, Briana Woods, said the same thing, having recently moved to the area from Pittsburg and visiting the Fair with her son Dontae. 

On foodstuffs, Hughes said she was surprised to see her favorite Fair delicacy, elephant ears, vended at the fairgrounds. She described elephant ears as a flat version of funnel cake — fried dough sweetened with cinnamon and/or powdered sugar. 

Hardy Elementary student Ari’Asiah Hendricks said that her favorite treat that day was Kona Ice, which is shaved ice flavored with syrup that had dyed her mouth and tongue entirely purple by midafternoon.   

Her mom Kayla Warren, on the other hand, promoted Fair vendor Bubba-N-Frank’s chicken wings, as did other Hardy moms Candace Osborne and Destiny Jones.  

Smithfield High School cheerleaders Sydney Bollhorst and Kinley Nichols both pointed to the Fair classic, funnel cake, as their top choice. 

New in the Fair’s petting zoo tent this year — put on by Rockin’ A Ranch — were a set of juvenile water buffaloes, a 4-month old camel named Boo-Boo and a newborn baby Soay sheep born earlier that day, according to Sharon Starr with Rockin’ A Ranch. 

The petting zoo tent also featured alpacas, Shetland ponies, Newbian dairy goats, Brahma bulls and two juvenile water buffalo named Jamie and Claire. 

Among children’s laughter, carnival tunes and animal calls were the twang and song of musical group Judy and Drew Dunn, performing Christian music onstage, sent out to fairgoers through speakers.