Benton County Fair opens with smiles, awards

story and photos by Tabatha Gardner
tgardner@thecitywire.com

BENTONVILLE— “I got a ribbon and a medal,” Timothy Haak, beamed Wednesday (Aug. 15) as he spoke about his first time showing goats at the Benton County Fair.

The 6-year-old gently petted his Alpine goat, Butterfly, as he pointed to the gold-colored medal and blue ribbon hanging from the animal’s pen. 

Timothy’s siblings, Abby, 9, and Ben, 8, were also eager to point out their own ribbons and medals, all from the county fair, all from showing their own goats.

Timothy, Abby and Ben have been caring for and training their goats for more than a year, readying them for the county fair. Each said they liked everything about the fair and being there before Timothy ran back into the arena with Butterfly, ready for another show.

Their parents, Melinda and Luke Haak, of Gentry watched their children, smiling from ear to ear.

“This is a growing experience for them,” Melinda said. “It’s just fun to come out and watch them come out of their shell.”

Lisa Seay of Highfill was also counting ribbons Wednesday. Seay took home one blue, first-place ribbon and two red, second-place ribbons for her handy work piecing together quilts.

“I’m just so tickled,” Seay said, as she looked at the craftsmanship of her competitor’s quilts.

The ribbons “just goes to show I’ve had good people help me out and train me,” Seay said.

This year is the first year for Seay to compete in the county fair’s quilting competition and she is sure to be back.

“I’m going to have to go buy some more material,” Seay said with a grin.

Competing in the county fair helps participants grow and learn year after year, said Greta Thiele, assistant superintendent of horticulture for the Benton County Fair. She aid her favorite part about the fair is seeing how children develop and grow in their crafts each year.

“The kids really learn a lot each year,” Thiele said. “I love helping them and I enjoy seeing people and visiting old friends each year.”

While the Haak children and Seay gathered a slew of ribbons and memories Wednesday, Talon Carsten prepared to work.

Carsten works at the Carsten Concessions stand. He was getting ready to fry potatoes, squeeze lemons for lemonade and cook fresh lamb and beef gyros for fair goers.

“I enjoy being at the fair, feeding everybody and making sure everybody has a good time,” Carsten said, noting that there’s at least one more thing he enjoys about the Benton County Fair.

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“Making money,” Carsten said, adding that this is his sixth year to work at the fair.

Gates at the Benton County Fair will open Thursday (Aug. 16) and run through Sunday. The midway opens tonight (Thursday) at 5 p.m. The midway will open at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The fair also features a tractor pull at 5 p.m. on Saturday as well as the Bare Down Bullriding Tour on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

For the fair’s complete schedule of events, visit www.bentoncountyfairar.org.

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