There is much to be said about living in a small town. Typically, it is a place where everyone knows and cares for everyone else and the community and its traditions and memories die-hard.
The town of Otterville is one such place — just ask anyone who lives there and they will tell you.
Everyone who lives or visits the community this weekend will be able to see with their own eyes as Otterville will once again host its annual street fair.
“We haven’t had a fair here in Otterville since 2005, but we decided to bring it back this year,” Pat Wilfong, a member of the fair committee, said. “We have a lot of old buildings and old memories associated with them that we were fearful we were losing.
“As we were sitting around talking, a lot of great memories came back and we decided that we wanted to bring the fair back too,” she added. “It’s taken an awful lot of work by a lot of good people but it’s all worth it because we are doing this for the kids.”
The theme of this year’s event, “Tell me about the good ‘ole days, it’s an Otterville tradition,” seems a fitting one, with many of the activities and events coming straight out of a Mark Twain story.
“A lot of the things we have planned we have done in the past,” Wilfong said. “We’ve updated a lot of them and added some new events as well.
“We’ve got a couple of live bands that will be playing and some DJs will provide music in the beer garden Friday night and at the teen street dance on Saturday,” she added. “The teen dance is for students in grades six through 12 and we’re hoping for a large turnout.”
Wilfong said Justin Ray, an area DJ, would be providing music in the beer garden Friday night and Tobacco Road, a live band, would be the featured performer at the venue from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The proceeds from the beer garden will go to a scholarship fund for Otterville students.
“Turner Brothers Band, a group of local musicians, will be playing Saturday afternoon,” Wilfong commented. “We really need to thank the Otterville Truck and Tractor Pull Association because they provided a lot of the funding to secure this year’s performers.
“When we started planning the fair in July we had no money at all,” she added. “But we’ve had a lot of really good sponsors help us and a lot of people have worked really hard too to make this all happen.”
Wilfong, who along with the Lamine River Hunt Club is in charge of the vendor booths, said there are more than 50 vendors who will be on hand with a wide range of products from fall and holiday décor to Pampered Chef items and many food vendors.
With a barbecue competition, pie contest and auction, cheese ball eating contest and food specials including cheesy chicken, Philly sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, and fish and chips, fair-goers should be able to satisfy their taste buds.
“We have five young ladies who are competing for the title of Miss Otterville,” Wilfong said. “We have a lot of other contests including a car truck and tractor show on Saturday and a washer board tournament.
“For the kids we have hula hoop and jump rope contests and turtle and frog races. The kids can bring their own frogs and turtles but some of us are going out and catching some extra ones for the kids who don’t have one,” she added. “We’re even going to have seven bounce houses for them to enjoy.”
Sunday will be a special community day, Wilfong said, as there will be a community church service at 10 a.m. followed by a lunch at 11:30 a.m. The final event on Sunday will be a 1 p.m. walk to the Otterville Union Cemetery.
“We’re hoping to have a large turnout each day of the fair,” Wilfong said. “We’re going to be here rain or shine.
“It’s all for the kids and for the community,” she added. “It’s a way for us all to be together.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.