More than rides and games

Step inside the gates of the Shelby County fair and the lights and smells will immediately grab your attention.

Every year booths surround the Shelby County fair grounds with games to play, devishly-delicious fair treats to much on and of course, a wide variety of amusement rides.

This year’s 59th–annual Shelby County Fair will run from Sept. 15-20. Organizers plan to offer more attractions this year, and they just hope the extras catch on with the community.

Volunteer Sue Byars said several years ago they added on hobby competitions for the best Nascar memorabilia and the best Coca-Cola collection.

“Some people who might not care about canned goods might care about seeing someone’s stamp or coin collection,” Byars said. “We’re trying to add diversity to the event by adding new hobby divisions that might attract different people.”

This year the fair even has a hat competition — seeking the prettiest hat, ugliest hat and best fair–themed hat. This year’s fair theme is “The Backbone of Alabama,” focusing on how agriculture drives many parts of the state’s economy and everyday life.

Byars said the fair always has a great turnout, but there are some people who don’t realize that they can not only ride the tilt-a-whirl and chow down on cotton candy but also show off their own talents and interests.

“We want more people to know about these events this year so that just about anyone can actually participate more fully in the fair,” Byars said.

The regular contests and competitions include: canned goods, produce, horticulture, crafts, art, photography, baked goods and a Needle in the Haystack event.

Hobby events include: NASCAR items and sports cards on Monday, coins and stamps on Tuesday, Matchbox cars and model cars on Wednesday, scrapbooking and soap making on Thursday, Coke memorabilia and military memorabilia on Friday. First place in each category wins $50.

The hat contest for prettiest hat, ugliest hat and best fair theme hat. Each category winner gets $5 and a blue ribbon. A variety of demonstrations are also included in this years line-up. Those include: Petals from the Past on Monday, orchids on Tuesday, honey bees on Wednesday, robotics on Thursday and wood carving on Friday.

Online registration for all of these events, as well as more information about this year’s fair, is available at www.alshelbycountyfair.com