Another county fair is history

The 142nd-annual Jefferson County Fair is over. All that is left are fond memories and a few pounds gained from the royalty luncheon, Classic Corners lunches, Purple Circle 4-H Club food, buyers dinner and all types of foods sold along the midway.

Sandy Zitko was such a refreshing face to see at the fair restaurant operated by Greg Froehlich, his wife and staff. She would come from behind the counter to give me a hug and smile each day. If I wasn’t in a good mood before, I was after seeing her.

She was a cookie category winner in our Holiday Cookbook one year and a winner in past times as well, and she promises to participate again.

I showed her a scaled-down column from the 2006 cookbook where she and I were in a picture that I had framed and on a pedestal in the dining room hutch, and we passed it around for all to see.

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Probably other 4-H clubs do this, too, but I know about this one as I am always invited. The Purple Circle has a large array of hot and cold foods every day for members, parents and anybody who is hungry to stop and have some food.

While my grandson Matthew was here, we split a serving of sweet and sour chicken, I had fries with a large sprinkling of vinegar, raspberry yogurt with blackberries and whipped cream, a lemon shake and some of Sandy Zitko’s banana, pineapple and zucchini bread that was very good. Not all in one day, though.

I am most grateful to Ray Hilderbrand, fair board president, for coming to my rescue when I discovered on Sunday morning that I did not have the auction sheet with all the buyers, prices, notations of little things that happen and people’s names. Running backwards in my mind I don’t know when or where I laid it down to be forgotten.

I was in a blind panic. This is where my auction story for our Monday edition comes from. I had Hilderbrand’s cell phone number and gave him a call. He calmed my fears, saying he would get me another one….pronto. And that is what he did.

He borrowed the official auction records from Rob Whinnery, and Lamont went to the office to pick up the sheets and drove them to the newsroom for me.

I know Ray had to take time from duties that needed to be done to do this. And believe me, he is always busy. Also, my husband had to miss some of a baseball game to deliver the goods. Thanks to all three great guys.

There is another man to thank, and that is Frank Yeske for stopping to help while Lamont and I were struggling with putting up the tent. He was baby sitting twin granddaughters, Zoe and Rainey, and took the time to stop and lend a hand.

Thanks also go out to Sheriff Fred Abdalla for delivering a photo card and identifications from the parade to the office. Mark Law was not able to make the photo session of the parade, so I shot pictures from my perch on one of the shuttle wagons where I served as the parade judge.

I was so happy to spend an evening at the fair with grandson Matthew on Friday. I am usually huddled at the office computer typing all the happenings of the day, and by the time I get home, it is late or I am dead tired. That was to be Matthew’s last night with us, and I wanted him to see the truck and tractor pulls and how crowded the midway is at night.

Actually it is the first truck and tractor I have seen while sitting down. But I didn’t watch the event from a grandstand seat but on the ground, as there were no seats left when we got there.

I plunked down by Monica and Duayne Wetherell, and she promised to help me up if I was struggling. I was really cheering for Darrin Young’s “Pipe Dreams” canary yellow truck. I know Darrin from the Adena Lions Club where he could be real serious when he served as president in 2012 and really funny in the club’s annual minstrel show each year.

The Eberhart truck from Cadiz was another one I was biting my fingernails over when the weighs slid to the end, meaning there was a heck of a lot of pounds to try to move.

We watched some young and nimble men try to get to the top of the challenging side of the rock wall. They were very determined and tried many times, with the goal being to reach the top and hit a bell.

They challenged a young lady to try, and I was really cheering for her to do well but as she said, “This is really hard.” And I believe her, I could see muscles straining in each hand hold.

I admired the rustic truck planter with a yellow mum flower inside that Scott Campbell of M&M Hardware received when buying the lamb of Hunter Johnson. Nice man that he is, he gave it to me.

Campbell made many purchases through the day and had a cartful of buyer gifts to take home. He was very interested in a home-made pie from one of the 4-H members and held on to that.

It was so cute when young Cameron Best brought a pie into the sale ring and told Gary Cain that his grandmother baked the pie for him to give to a buyer.

We wanted to buy his market hog but didn’t have the freezer capacity for it. I recall buying the market hog of his mother, Erin Saiter Best, when she was in 4-H in years past, and we would have liked to do the same for him and will in later years.

Tom Graham gave me a purple mum received for his purchase of Ramsey Core’s reserve champion chickens.

I just wanted to hug Brianna Piergallini and give her a tissue, as she showed the market lamb of her sister, Brooke, who had gone on to her college studies at Ohio State University. Brooke wrote two touching letters about the animals being sold in memory of her grandmother, Lucille, who died three weeks after the 2012 fair. She told of her grandmother’s spirit, love of all of her 17 grandchildren and the effect she had on their lives.

Brianna had tears as the story was read, and I think that many of us did, too. Scott Campbell was the buyer of the lamb.

I want to apologize to Joe Williams of Williams Excavating for calling him Bob in my story. It goes back to losing the auction sheet where I had names and notes. I knew his name was only three letters and that is what came to mind. Joe was a first-time buyer and started out big, buying the grand champion 1,349-pound market steer raised by Brandon DeFrank of the Wildwood Critters and the 268-pound reserve market hog raised by Delaney Johnson of the Dusty Boots 4-H Club.

Williams Excavating has been in our area for two years, and the owner is interested in the community and its youth program.

Paula Powley was an excited lady when she made the first auction purchase of her life by buying the 228-pound market hog of Logan Noviski from Bits ‘n’ Pieces 4-H Club.

She actually came to the fair for the Dave Barnhouse print, “Talking Turkey,” a project of the junior leaders. She got that for a $575 bid and bought a hog she hadn’t planned on but wanted to help Logan.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at