By Kyla Hurt
Photos by ElCrow Photography, Ryan Mason, Gary Hadden and Lauren Hadden
Memories were indeed made during the 2023 Morgan County Fair. The July 11-17 fair offered a lot during the week: the 65th annual Morgan County Fair Pageant, talent contest, rodeos, Power Wheels and demolition derbies, carnival rides, traditional “fair foods,” livestock exhibitions, horse events, concerts, live entertainment, volleyball tournaments, truck and tractor pulls, the 5th annual Toss for Autism Bags Tournament and more.
Morgan County Agricultural Fair Association Board President Gary Hadden said, “Overall, the 2023 Morgan County Fair was definitely a success as we had great attendance from start to finish. We had a record crowd for the demolition derby, and they put on a great show. Also that night, we had a really good crowd for the 90s Night/Singo event in the Pavilion with the band, The Skanqs, playing. Then, moving through the week, the concerts went very well — Friday night’s concert was cut a bit short because of some severe weather moving through the area, but Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line still put on a terrific show. Saturday, Lewis and Lee Brice put on an entertaining and energetic show for a huge crowd. Sunday was the annual truck and tractor pull, which also had a big turnout and people enjoyed great weather and entertainment.
According to Darin Smith, beef superintendent, shared that 2023 Morgan County Fair Beef Show included 58 exhibitors and 120 head of cattle (a steady number in comparison with 2022), judged by Roger Allen of St. Joseph. Smith said, “We had a very large crowd of spectators.” This year, Emma Taylor was awarded the Chris Smith Memorial Herdsman award.
MCF Goat Show Superintendent Keith Fricke said that the goat show at the fair boasted 130 goats from 34 exhibitors, and noted that the goat numbers were up significantly from 2022.
Following a 2022 fair without a demolition derby (cancelled due to weather), 2023 broke new records over a highly successful 2021 derby! MCF Demo Chair Austin McQueen noted of this year, “We had 36 drivers/cars and 30 riders with 5 classes. The grandstand was sold out and we had nearly 450 pit passes sold. We also had a “Power Wheels Derby” for the first time — 40 kids held their own derby in Power Wheels vehicles prior to the start of the Demo Derby, and it was a crowd favorite.”
As for the talent show and pageant, there were around 1,000 people in attendance this year, according to MCF Queen Committee Co-chair Gracie Holt. The 65th annual MCF Pageant had 31 contestants: 13 princesses, 8 junior and 10 queen.
Hadden finished, “We do this because of the kids, and they had an amazing showing for all their different products and exhibits — which is what our fair is all about. All this couldn’t happen without the generous support and volunteer efforts of so many people from our community. The outreach of sponsors and volunteer workers is tremendous and we greatly appreciate it!”
Check back at themorgancountyfair.com or follow “The Morgan County Fair” on Facebook to keep up with future fair festivities. In the meantime, enjoy these scenes from this year’s Morgan County Fair.