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From food to fun, fair offers something for everyone

Brookhaven Exchange Club members and volunteers have been busychecking rides, cleaning up booths and making other improvements asthey prepare to host the club’s annual fair.

The fair begins Saturday at 6 p.m.

Following an day off Sunday, the fair resumes Monday and goesthrough Saturday, Aug. 6. Hours are 6-10 p.m. weeknights and 6-11p.m. on weekends.

Ricky Lagrone, club president, said an estimated 10,000 peopleattended last year’s fair. He was looking for similar or betterturnout this year.

“Hopefully, it’s going to be good, but a lot that depends on theweather,” Lagrone said. “We pull people from surrounding counties.It’s not just Lincoln County.”

Lagrone said this year’s event features many of the familiarattractions that fairgoers have come to enjoy over the years.

“We’ll have all the game booths like we had last year and, ofcourse, the Midway Kitchen,” said Lagrone, who also mentioning theWhirlybird Cafe.

The fair has grown over the years since it began in 1953, saidCharles “Ploochie” Ratliff, a founding member of the club.

“We had three booths made out of cardboard,” said Ratliff,recalling his early years of operating the car ride. “People I rode(then) as kids are grandparents now.”

For the last 35 years, Ratliff and his wife, Virginia, have beenrunning the fair’s ever-popular bingo games. He said he stillenjoys calling the games and doesn’t want to hand over the activityto someone else.

“I’d rather do something for somebody else than somebody dosomething for me,” Ratliff said.

Lagrone said paramedics and sheriff’s auxiliary deputies will beon hand to provide assistance if needed.

For several weeks leading up to and during fair week, clubmembers have been offering tickets for a four-wheeler. The vehiclewill be given away the last night of the fair.

“We’ve really done well with it,” Lagrone said.

Lagrone said club members had hoped to be able to have some newrides ready for this year’s fair, but plans did not work out. Whilenot mentioning anything specific, Lagrone said he hope to updaterides for next year’s fair.

“That’s what I want to look at,” Lagrone said.