Livingston Parish fair returns for 80th birthday edition

Thursday, 05 October 2017, 12:36:38 PM. Contractors walked through the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds last week making final repairs to the wooden barns and gyms. On Saturday, the grounds will be filled with live animals, award-winning pies

Contractors walked through the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds last week making final repairs to the wooden barns and gyms. On Saturday, the grounds will be filled with live animals, award-winning pies and dozens of rides, games and funnel cake stands. 

The annual parish tradition is back on — beginning with a parade on Saturday — a year after 5 feet of water forced organizers to cancel the tradition for just the fourth time in its history. 

It will be much the same type of parish fair that people remember experiencing from before the flood, said fair President Lynn Sibley. 

"Tradition has worked for almost 80 years, so I don't think we'll venture far from that," she said. "I think it will be a welcome site since the flood."

Mitchell Brothers will, as usual, bring the amusement — "kiddie rides and stuff you might think twice about getting on" — and there will be a lively Midway full of gumbo, corn dogs and fried everything else, she said. 

A Professional Cowboys Association Rodeo will be held on Oct. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. Then, the 4-H displays, pie and pet competitions and the Miss Livingston Parish Fair pageant will go on throughout the week. 

New this year will be a concert on the night of Oct. 12 featuring country singer Drew Baldridge. Also, there will be a seventh-grade spelling bee in addition to the sixth-grade one, such that kids who missed out due to the flood last year can partake. A deal will also be offered on Oct. 11, when there will be $25 two-for-one amusement ride wristbands. 

Livingston Parish school kids will have a day off on Oct. 13 to attend the fair, which usually draws about 50,000 visitors each year. 

Sibley said it was a difficult decision last year to cancel the fair, which has only been called off before during World War II, after a 1982 train derailment and when it was used as a staging ground after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

"We were just a few weeks away from the fair, and there was no way we could do it with the damage we had here," she said. "Everyone was so devastated, and you want to do everything you can for your community, and the fair is such a draw to bring families. People come back in from out of town just because it's fair time. So, it was really hard not to be able to do it."

Though in a floodplain, the fair association did not have flood insurance, according to Sibley. Organizers were able to pay for repairs, in part, by renting the facility for five months to a company that needed a place to park 5,000 flooded cars waiting to be salvaged. 

Nearly all the buildings are repaired, with new walls, concrete floors and a freshly poured asphalt midway. 

Christy Sorenson, a Livingston Parish 4-H agent, said the students are excited to have the event back after missing it last year. 

"Every time we go to a club meeting at the schools, their eyes just light up every time we start talking about the fair," she said. 

Festivities run from Oct. 7 to Oct. 15 at the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds at 13325 Florida Blvd. in Livingston. 

Share this
Article Livingston Parish fair returns for 80th birthday edition compiled by www.theadvocate.com