Fair brings fun, funds to Statesboro

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Walter Peace quickly hustled from one acre of the Kiwanis Fairgrounds Monday morning. As chairman of the Ogeechee Fair, he was making sure the week-long fair has something for all interests.

"Sometimes they come to ride the rides. Sometimes they come in, eat in the Pancake House and walk around a little and they leave as happy as anybody," Peace said with a laugh.

Besides a midway with all the lights, sounds, and thrills, the fair features more than its share of low-tech attractions. That includes an 1800's farmhouse moved to the grounds board by board, and a working kettle to make cane syrup. The list includes plenty of things visitors rarely see outside a history book.

"It makes you feel good when you can help people understand where this stuff comes from, how its made, how its grown," explained Thomas Anderson, who's supervised the syrup operation for decades.

One of the things that makes the fair unique is that much of the money generated stays in the community, that includes the concessions sold by church groups, school groups, or civic clubs to the proceeds the club donates back to the community through the year. They donate to nearly every cause and fund several scholarships for area high school seniors and a few at Georgia Southern. Walter says the fair started 49 years ago after a pledge to donate $3,000 to Georgia Southern to help them secure a $30,000 grant.

"They all went in, signed the note. They looked around and said 'We've got to find a way to pay the bank back.' So they started a little parking lot fair," Peace explained.

While it has grown from there, it still features hand-made crafts, like blue ribbon quilts and paintings- that make it a bargain for down home fun.

For a schedule of events, visit www.kiwanisogeecheefair.org.

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