Jasmine pawed at the ribbon but needed a little assistance to cut it officially to open the Columbia County Fall Fair on Thursday.
The 5-month-old black-mane African lion cub is part of a new attraction at the fair, sponsored by the Merchants Association of Columbia County.
Nicole Pratt, 12, and Travis Pratt, 5, enjoy the Columbia County Fall Fair. The fair runs through Saturday and has added new attractions including a wild animal circus, live nightly musical entertainment, a working sawmill, a soapmaker and a stump sculptor.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Baron von Uhl's Wild Animal Circus, based in Indiana, performs with a cast of ponies, dogs, lions, elephants, goats and ligers, which have a lion father and tiger mother, twice nightly and three times on weekends.
"It's family fun," said Linda von Uhl. "Today, everyone has got to do everything fast-paced and the kids get left in the dust. They will remember this when they grow up."
The circus is one of several new attractions, including live nightly musical entertainment, a working sawmill, a soap-maker, a man sculpting stumps with a chain saw and one of the largest steers on record - 6 feet tall, 11 feet long and weighing 1 tons.
Popular attractions such as David "the Bullet" Smith Jr., who shoots himself from a 35-foot cannon, and the petting zoo are brought back from a year ago, when Drew Exposition took over the midway after leaving Augusta's fair.
"We thank Jimmy and Jim Drew and the Drew Exposition team, who did all this to put on one of the biggest shows," merchants association President Mike Zapata said.
The fair runs through Saturday, with gate admission $5 and nightly specials being offered.
Merchants say their favorite part of the fair is giving away money raised at the fair to local charities.
At the ribbon-cutting, Zapata handed out eight $1,500 checks to local organizations, including the Martinez-Evans Little League, Columbia County Cares food pantry, the Medical College of Georgia Pediatric Endocrinology Department for the Juvenile Diabetes Association, Easter Seals, American Red Cross, Project Wish, Camp Rainbow and the Children's Miracle Network.
The Merchants Association already handed out $14,000 in scholarships to students at the county's four high schools, Zapata said.
For more information about the fair, call the fair hot line at 210-3603.
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