Decatur resident Karen Mason doesn’t care for the Morgan County Fair, but watching her 6-year-old daughter enjoy the rides, funnel cakes and candied apples Saturday made the experience worth it.
Every year, Mason’s daughter, Miracle, waits in nervous anticipation for the return of fried food and twinkling lights at the fairgrounds behind Home Depot in Decatur.
“My little girl loves it, and my husband is as big of a kid as she is,” she said. “She hears everyone talking about the fair coming, and she won’t let us rest until we bring her here.”
The 10-day event, which has already drawn thousands of area residents, will run through Sept. 29 and feature local bands, a horse show, pageant and human cannonball.
The Morgan County Fair wasn’t the only area event that brought in large crowds Saturday.
Sunny skies and highs in the low 80s were the ideal backdrop for West Virginia resident Fred Greathouse at the annual Racking Horse World Celebration in Priceville.
Greathouse, a participant since 1978, said he returns to the celebration each year because horses are in his blood.
“Once it gets in there, it’s hard to get out,” he said. “Mostly, it’s just thrilling to get to show this type of horse — the racking horse.”
Horse lovers across the U.S. galloped into town Friday for the celebration and competed in a number of classes with fellow equestrians.
The celebration will run through Sept. 29 and include a dog show, barn decorating contest, golf tournament, “When Pigs Fly” contest and stick horse race.
For 25 years, Susan Haynes has traveled from Chesnee, S.C., to take part in the celebration. On Saturday, she showed off her six-time world champion horse Sprites Spinalizer.
“I just love to show the horses, and now I love seeing my grandchildren show,” she said. “I like the camaraderie of seeing old friends from states all over.”
Watkinsville, Ga., resident Tim Carithers kept himself busy this weekend at the FLW Tour Open fishing tournament, which began Thursday at Ingalls Harbor.
Carithers, whose son lives in Decatur, said he spent almost 12 hours watching the 178 competitors and visiting the free outdoors expo held Saturday at Wal-Mart.
The expo included fishing tips from anglers, boat simulators and interactive games, bounce castles and giveaways.
“I’ve been to several of these tournaments,” Carithers said. “I like to come watch the guys fish and give them some support.”
The competitors will vie for top awards and up to $125,000 in the Pro Division and $25,000 in the Co-Angler Division categories.
The event is expected to generate about $500,000 in revenue for the area, according to the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Athens High School marching band’s Cotton Classic Marching festival also took place Saturday, drawing bands from as far as Nashville and Tuscaloosa to the Golden Eagle Stadium on U.S. 31.
A dozen bands took part in the competition, which concluded with a performance by the University of North Alabama’s Pride of Dixie Marching Band and an awards ceremony.
Morgan County Fair, through Sept. 29, Decatur fairgrounds; Fridays, 6-11 p.m.; Saturdays, 2-10 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; admission, $5 and $3; armbands, $20.
Racking Horse World Celebration, through Sept. 29, Morgan County Celebration Arena, Priceville; Daily at 6 p.m., today-Sept. 29; except Thursday, which starts at 5:30 p.m.; Cost $5 through Wednesday, $7 Sept. 27-29.
FLW fishing outdoor expo, noon to 4 p.m. today, Wal-Mart parking lot, Decatur; free.
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