The Columbia County Merchants Association Fair starts Thursday, with its biggest coup in years: Landing James H. Drew Expositions for the midway. There was more than a little heartburn earlier this year when the Richmond County Exchange Club dumped Drew as its long-time vendor, but the Merchants Association quickly snapped up the popular company.
Augustas fair, now called the Georgia-Carolina State Fair, winds down just as Columbia Countys fair gets underway. We probably wont hear any attendance figures, but thanks in part to Drew, Columbia Countys fair is likely to eclipse Augustas event.
We always liked our fair better anyway.
Forums bore em
Its unlikely any of the candidates at this weeks public forums will eclipse the others, but itll be fun to see some of them try.
The first forum is Monday at Grovetown Middle School at 7 p.m.; the second is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Harlem Middle School; the third (bored yet?) is Saturday at 9 a.m. at North Columbia Elementary School.
Some folks are troubled that the countys Republican Party set up the forums, since the race is non-partisan. There was a short-lived effort to set up another, unrelated forum Tuesday in Appling, but even the candidates themselves couldnt possibly want so many opportunities.
Lets face it: These forums are great in concept for the general public to meet the people who want to represent them on the County Commission. But they are mostly attended by little camps of each candidates supporters, and in spite of the best-laid intentions of everyone who puts them together, the events rarely generate any illuminating sparks.
The only fun in covering them, in fact, comes when one of the candidates reveals himself or herself to be entirely clueless on a topic. (The best example, bless her heart, was from a school board candidate a couple of years ago who looked bewildered when asked a question and said, Youre speaking Greek to me.)
Incidentally, it seems one of the candidates has complained that the voters dont know there is an election. More importantly, some voters in Appling dont know theyre eligible to vote, because they werent able to vote for this Commission seat the last time it was up for grabs.
In fact, the voters in the Eubank Blanchard and Kiokee Baptist Church precincts last voted for Diane Ford. But now, because of the way the districts were redrawn after the switch to a countywide elected chairman, the Commissions District 4 now encompasses everything south of Interstate 20 - the old District 3 - plus a large chunk of Appling.
The savvy candidates will use this confusion to their advantage by targeting those voters to turn out in their favor. The rest will just complain about it.
Some of the folks voting in the upcoming election will cast ballots at Eubank Blanchard Community Cen-ter, just across the road from Jimmy Wallaces garage.
Wallaces Phinizy business has long been a place where old-timers hang around and shoot the breeze, and theyve got plenty to talk about since Wallaces conviction last week for killing animals - including one of his neighbors dogs - with poison-laced hamburger.
Some of the sentiment in the area sides with Wallace because they think its OK to kill anything that comes on your property - especially if you believe its messing with your cows. Most people dont agree, however, and neither does the law. So Wallace will pay the price with fines and restitution.
Though this conviction paints a pretty rotten picture, for my part I think of Jimmy Wallace kindly. Many long years ago, my bride-to-be and I got our car stuck in a ditch on a dirt road on a rainy night. He brought his tow-truck and pulled us out to firmer ground, and charged me a fair price - especially considering the late hour and bad weather.
I hate that he got himself in trouble, but Im glad he was there when I did.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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