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Work under way for Friday opening
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Candy Ramsey applies a fresh coat of paint to the grandstands in preparation for the start of the Warren County A&L Fair this Friday night.
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Well-known local potter Dorinda Watts carries a display stand through Fairfield Village. Watts, 80, can still lift a 50-pound box of clay.

Candy Ramsey has been busy applying a fresh coat of paint to the grandstands at the Warren County A&L Fair.

It will only be a matter of days before that grandstand is packed with people as the fair gets underway this Friday night with the Teen/ Pre-Teen Fairest of the Fair Pageant.

“I’m excited about the fair,” said Ramsey. “We like to come as a family and walk through all the buildings. It’s one of our traditions.”

Ramsey said coronavirus isn’t going to keep her from attending the fair, which is scheduled for Sept. 10-18.

“With COVID, there’s no guide on what to do,” said Ramsey. “The virus didn’t come with instructions. You’ve got to do the best you can and keep going.”

Fair president Regan Kelsey says the fair is full speed ahead and he’s eager for this year’s event after last year’s cancellation.

“The overwhelming feedback I’ve received has been positive,” said Kelsey. “It’s an open-air event and they just had 100,000 people at Neyland Stadium last night,” he said referring to UT’s football opener against Bowling Green.

Kelsey added, “All the fairs before us have taken place and all the fairs after us are still scheduled to take place. We’re really looking forward to this year and I think it’s going to be good for Warren County.”

At the food booth section of the fairgrounds, pastor Sammy Lee was busy scraping the grill at the First Assembly of God booth, which is ready to serve its popular walking taco, burgers, and even a 6-ounce ribeye steak.

“I’m expecting a lot of people,” said pastor Lee. “We’re expecting to sell between 2,500 and 3,000 hamburgers and I’m sure that’s pretty much the same for every booth out here. Add it all together and that’s a whole lot of meat.”

First Assembly of God has operated its food booth for 15 years. Lee was among a small crew getting the booth cleaned and ready to go. One big change is there won’t be fountain drinks served this year. All drinks will be in plastic bottles.

“We had to run some new wires to accommodate the coolers we need,” said Lee. “It’s a lot of work ahead of time just to get ready for all the work that’s coming when the fair starts. But we enjoy being out here.”

Dorinda Watts has been busy getting her area ready at Fairfield Village. She sells pottery and also brings her throwing wheel to show how she transforms clay into mugs and bowls.

“The demonstrations are a big thing for the kids. They really like it,” said Watts. “I plan to be out here with my mask on. I’m 80 and still do everything I want to do. I think attendance will be down a little because I’ve heard from too many people who say they aren’t coming. I know some of my family members aren’t coming.”

One person who is definitely not staying away is Eddie Hennessee. He was helping Candy Ramsey paint the grandstand and was talking about the headline entertainment on Thursday night, Sept. 16.

“I’m happy the Cleverlys are going to be here,” said Hennessee. “I’m going to laugh my rear end off. They are some funny characters.”