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Fair festivities start today
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People love the Warren County A&L Fair. With over a week of entertainment, exhibits and rides, it’s one of the most anticipated county events of the year.

As one of the few free fairs, attendance estimates range as high as 150,000 visitors for the nine-day event which starts today. The first major event is tonight at 7 p.m. with the Preteen Fairest of the Fair.

What many people don’t realize is the fair is the result of the dedication of volunteers, all unpaid, who work nearly year round to maintain the grounds.

According to fair president Kenneth Medlen, "There’s usually a bunch of us year round. But most of the time we’ll start gathering out here probably in June or July. This year’s been a little different. We have built a new set of bathrooms and somebody has been out here since January. And especially the last couple of months, we’ve been out here every day and even on Saturdays. It’s been every day last week, except for Sunday, and it’ll be every day this week until the fair starts on Friday. Most of the core people will be here anywhere from 7 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m., until everybody goes home and we get everything locked up. It’s just not a 9-5 job."

Continues Medlin, "Maintenance has been real bad this year because we’ve had such a hard freeze. We’ve had nearly every water pipe bust in these buildings. That’s the main thing we try to get up and going. And then you’ve got your regular lights and bulbs, plumbing, ground keeping."

A significant improvement this year is an entirely new bathroom facility behind the grandstand. Medlen says, "I’m proud of our new bathrooms. They’re very modern now, they’re bigger. It was totally torn down, so everything in there is brand spanking new. That was a big undertaking."

Medlin took over fair president duties from the late Kevin Lawrence last year. This is his first full year as president.

"I want everybody to come out, have a good time. I know it’s like the old saying you can’t please everybody, but we try. The only thing I ask is tell the people don’t fuss because we’re all doing this for nothing. If they’ve got a suggestion, that’s fine. We’re open to any suggestions. We may not use them, but we’ll still be glad to hear them."

The 61st annual Warren County A&L Fair, the "Best Free County Fair in the State," is Sept. 5-13.