Finally - after nearly a week of rain - the sun began to heat up the Columbia County fairgrounds.
The opening day of the 12th annual Exchange Club of Columbia County Fair was postponed from Thursday to Friday due to rain.
"Yesterday was so wet, we could not even set up some of the equipment," said Rolston Wilder, exchange club office manager Friday. "The rain hurt us. It always hurts us. Nothing can shut down a fair quicker than rain. Maybe all those people who have been cooped up for five or six or seven days are ready to get out, celebrate and have a little fun. Hopefully they will come here to have their fun."
With the sun came the people. Some were waiting outside when the fair opened at 2 p.m. Friday, Wilder said.
Katie Foss, 6, of Augusta, was one who anxiously waited for the fair. She spent a lot of time in the Greystone Ranch petting zoo, which included lots of baby animals. Katie especially liked the three baby goats.
Aisha Sequin 6, of Augusta, helps hold up a python at the Graystone Farm petting zoo during the Columbia County Exchange Club Fair.
Photo by Kevin Martin
"The bigger animals scare me," she admitted.
Katie could not decide which she liked better the zoo, or the Hip-Hop. Her sister Caroline, 8, had no doubts. She loved being taken up to 30-feet and dropped quickly thinking she would hit the ground only to be swooped skyward again in the nick of time.
Caroline and their mother, Jennifer, walked out of the fair with muddy shoes and large stuffed animals won on game strip.
Mud was the common factor for everyone who attended. Rusty Eskew, co-owner of Greystone Farm, volunteered his tractor and time to add gravel, compact and grade the grounds.
But as the sun went down Friday evening, music boomed from the rides and families brought children and teens poured through the gate for the preliminary round of the Battle of the Bands.
Daily special events include the Comedy Safari Show - a comedy show starring Mark Preston and his tropical parrots and lots of audience participation - and the Greystone Snake Show featuring August, a giant albino python. After the show, donations are accepted for the Columbia County Humane Society.
A goat from the fairs petting zoo casts a sidelong glance to passersby.
Photo by Kevin Martin
"When we come into a city, we like to make it better than when we got here in terms of animal welfare," said farm co-owner Kandy Eskew.
The Columbia County Exchange Club Fair Through Saturday
Admission: $5 general admission; $10 unlimited ride pass (Monday through Thursday); $12 unlimited ride pass (Friday through Sunday)
Where: Columbia County fairgrounds on Columbia Road across from Patriots Park.
Columbia County Exchange Club Fair daily schedule:
Tonight 4 to 11 p.m.
FEED THE HUNGRY NIGHT. Bring a canned food item for the Golden Harvest Food Bank for $1 off admission.
Thursday: 4 to 11 p.m.
PUTT PUTT GOLF DAY. Everyone receives a free game of golf at Putt Put Golf and Games with fair admission.
Friday: 4 p.m. to midnight
TEEN NIGHT. Battle of the Bands finale.
Saturday, April 19: Noon to midnight.
COOKIN' FOR KIDS between noon and 5 p.m., the first 500 kids get a home-cooked hotdog and drink.
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