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Home News-Telegram News Fall Festival: Why we do what we do

Fall Festival: Why we do what we do

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With all the exciting things happening around Hopkins County, we must not forget the upcoming 40th Anniversary Hopkins County Fall Festival beginning on Sept. 12. Looks like it is going to be a long hot summer in Texas and outdoor activity will be challenging. Gas prices are soaring. There is a mortgage crisis and a soft economy to consider.

Not to fear, the Hopkins County Fall Festival Board of Directors is creating a concept to allow you to spend your vacation at home, enjoy lots of festivities and get out to the fair without spending a lot of money. It’s a stay-at-home vacation where you can sleep at home every night and still enjoy the week-long festivities.

Here is just a small sample of the wonderful sights, sounds and activities on tap for the 2009 HCFF, all located right on the fair grounds:

We start off with an exciting parade led by past festival presidents as grand marshals. If you are a past president and have not been contacted, please call Susan Neal, parade chairperson, at 903-945- 2722 or e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The 40th Anniversary Cookbook will go on sale in August. We applaud Cindy Smithers for her diligence in getting this tasty keepsake together.

The 3rd Annual Trades Day will be on the first Saturday. Spaces are $1 each and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Vendors may set up as early as 8 a.m. and keep their booths open all day. Call Sherry Maynard at 903-885-8387 or e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to reserve your space. You may also contact Sherry to reserve your space to decorate the fair grounds.

We are inviting businesses, organizations and individuals to join us in celebrating our Hopkins County Fair with beautiful grounds decorations from the front door to the creek. Awards will be given for the best decorated area of the fair grounds. Your decorated spot will be viewed by thousands of people from Sept. 12 through Sept. 19 – A great advertising opportunity!

The 30th Annual Gospel SongFest will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, and features all genres of Christian music.

Our band “Psalm 100 and the Joyful Noise” will host this event. Call Buddy Gore at 903-885-4262 for more information.

The 14th Annual FF Golf Tournament is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14, with plans for it to be our biggest ever with lots of games, trophies and goodies for the players. Cheyenne Smithers (903-438-1605) and Jeremy Smithers (903-885-8036) will be the contact people to reserve your spot for this six-man team event.

Don’t  forget the Annual 42 Tournament being held in the Civic Center exhibit hall on Sept. 12. More details on that will be forthcoming.

Julie Hutchins is chairperson of the livestock show on Saturday, Sept. 12 in the Arena at the Civic Center. Sheep, goats, steers and heifers will be shown. This is a great opportunity for kids to show their livestock prior to the opening of the State Fair. Contact Juli at 903-885-3443 or e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want to participate.

The following Saturday, Sept. 19, there will be a 4-H Horse Club (HEAT) show at the equine pavilion just east of the Civic Center complex. Martha Hayward ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) heads up this endeavor and we are very excited to have the Horse Show as well as the Livestock Show as part of the Hopkins County Fall Festival this year.

“Senior Citizens Day” begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, with lots of activities, including a free health fair, talent contest, awards for male and female Senior Citizen Volunteer of the Year, bingo and dinner. Karon Weatherman heads up this fun-filled day. Contact her at the Senior Citizens Center, 150 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, by calling  903-885-1661.

Applications are still being accepted for Cover Girl. Tracy Dennis is chairperson of this event. Each girl will have an entry in the parade and will participate in a number of activities during the week to determine who will be crowned Cover Girl at the Saturday night concert. The public is invited and encouraged to watch the girls compete in the various events such as tractor driving, cutting up a chicken, roping and several other events. Contact Tracy at 903-885-9366 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Tuesday and Wednesday, commercial exhibitors, food vendors and the entertainment begin to arrive and get ready for the crowds. Food vendors include everything from upside-down lemonade and fried desserts to hot dogs, tacos, hamburgers, turkey legs, barbecue and just about anything else you can think of in the way of street fare. All the food booths at HCFF are inspected for cleanliness and must have commercial trailers for safety purposes. Contact Malisa Beck at 903-439-9564 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want space for a food booth.

We now have plenty of space for our commercial vendors, both inside in the Civic Center exhibit hall and outside on the grounds. These vendors display on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Inside spaces are gone pretty quick, but there are some really good spots outside in great traffic areas. Call Ina Gore at 903-885-4262 to reserve your space.

Arts and crafts exhibit space is also available, as well as entry in the Household Arts Contest for Hopkins County residents, from Johanna Hicks at 903-885-3443 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The Arts and Crafts sale, a really big event, happens on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th in the Sulphur Springs High School foyer and on the front lawn of SSHS, both only a few steps west from the Civic Center front door. And again, the annual Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild Show will be held at the high school in the gym.

Just a sample of the exciting events we have lined up for the kids and the young at heart:

n A safe and sanitary Petting Zoo supervised by qualified, professional attendants.

n Pet adoption and pet show conducted by PPAWS; contact Ashley Duke at 903-243-4306 or go to their web site www.ppawss.com

n The Kids Fishing Contest on Friday morning, headed up by Dr. Chris Hammons (more information forthcoming)

n There are also bounce houses; an exciting 60-foot bungee jump; The Dancing Boogie Heads; a triathlon where kids compete for ribbons and prizes, with Tony Aguilar as coordinator; The Freddie Prez Show with eight exciting shows for all ages, which includes the favorite Guitar Hero, along with Bingo, Toilet Paper Blowout (great for guys), Kid’s Cash Scramble, Can You Karaoke?, and the Spongebob Game Show.

Also, the Carnival will once again return to the Fair Grounds! We are so excited to have them across the creek on the Civic Center grounds where we have had them for so long. It is much more convenient for parents and the kids to be in the same area again, and with Triple T Amusements adding new rides this year, we plan on you having a super time at the carnival.

The First Annual Baby Crawling Contest is scheduled for Friday morning, Sept 18. Victoria Smith and MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) will be the organizers of the event and will offer prizes as well at gift bags for all participants. Call Victoria at 903-439-2959 to register your baby for this exciting event.

Another added contest this year will be a hot dog eating event. We are expecting this to be a hit, especially with the young men. Contestants will have 10 to 12 fully loaded hot dogs, and the first to finish them all wins a trophy and prizes. Entry forms will be available later.

The Street Dance on Friday night will feature a Hopkins County band that is becoming very much in demand, “The Outta Hand Band.” We are fortunate that they were available to join us and perform our free-to-the-public outdoor entertainment. Other free outdoor entertainment will happen every evening on the Sound Stage. You can check the schedule in the catalog of events, available in early September, for the performances. If you wish to make an appearance on the Sound Stage, please have a demo of your music and contact Joyce Davis at 903-885-6176 for available times and dates.

The Lake Country Antique Tractor Association Pull is in its fifth year at the fair and has become a very popular event with Bobby Neal as chairman. There were more than 150 antique tractors competing for prizes last year. We are expecting close to 200 for the 2009 event taking place on Saturday the 19th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a small admission, you can sit in an air conditioned arena and enjoy a great show!

Denise Null is chairperson for obtaining corporate sponsors for the Fall Festival. Without them it would be impossible to bring you an “almost” free fair with the majority of the events being free for you to enjoy. There is no gate charge to go into the fair grounds. We are always looking for additional sponsors for events at the Fall Festival, and if you are interested in sponsoring an event, please contact Denise at 903-885-7613 or e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The last Saturday night of the Fall Festival is a musical event with “The Big Beats” and the “Joshua Experience” in the auditorium. We talked before about how we are giving an opportunity for non-profit groups of Hopkins County to sell tickets to the concert and raise funds for their organization. We already have three organizations accepting the challenge, but there is room for a couple more. If you need more information, you may contact Ina Gore at 903-885-4262, Cheyenne Smithers at 903-438-1605 or Susan Neal at 903-945-2722. We will be happy to supply you with any tools you need to participate in this event. It is the aim of the FF board to keep as much money in Hopkins County as possible rather than sending it out of town.

If you are still looking to go on a great vacation, the Fall Festival Raffle this year will feature a “Family Vacation Giveaway.” Raffle tickets will go for $5 each, and you have a chance to win a vacation package worth $1,500 to the place of your choosing. This is a great value and the whole family can participate in the winnings!

With the additional space we have available on the festival grounds and all the added events, there will be plenty of great parking for everyone to have a great time at the Fair. There will also be additional handicapped parking available.

The next FF Board planning meeting will be held Monday, July 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Civic Center board room. If you are interested in being a volunteer for Fall Festival, we invite you to attend.

Until next month, keep on supporting “Your County Fair,” and visit our website at www.hopkinscountyfallfestival.com for regular updates by Jon Beck, our FF webmaster.

— Ina Gore, President Hopkins County Fall Festival Board




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