After 11 years, the Otterville Street Fair was back this past weekend with what coordinators agreed was a larger crowd than they could remember.
This year’s theme “Tell me about the good ‘ole days, it’s an Otterville tradition” was true to its name with the streets filled with old-time fun and games and even an outdoor church service.
Helping organize this year’s fair were Maria Morrison, Beverly Simmons, Christy McKinney, David Morrison and Judy Bailey. The group only began pulling the fair together in July.
Simmons and Maria Morrison said the fair was going “great” with over 100 parade entries and more than 50 vendors.
“We had a much larger parade than we ever expected,” Simmons noted.
She added that the parade featured “everything” from horses, to tractors, politicians, fire departments from small surrounding towns, floats, and ball teams from area schools.
“Just a wide array,” she said. “We had some muscle cars, big grain trucks from the co-op, and there is more vendors than we’ve ever had too.”
Simmons said they were happy with the the entertainment this year also. The fair had a outdoor stage for free daytime performances plus a paid venue in the beer garden during the evening.
“At 2:30 (Saturday) the Turner Brothers are playing,” she added. “They grew up in Otterville, but they live in Syracuse, Sedalia and California (Missouri) now. At the beer garden there will be a live band there tonight and that is Tobacco Row.”
They have all agreed that the fair will be back next year “bigger and greater” Simmons said.
“We have had so many of our older people, they are so excited,” she said. “The penny pitch (game) was one of the big things at the old fair. We brought it back. One of the old American Legion guys redone it for us.”
The “doll rack” game also known as “spin the doll” was also brought back this year. Simmons, 64, said she remembered playing the game at the Otterville Fair when she was 13.
To play, one gets a chance to throw three baseballs and hit the wooden dolls, suspended on bars, making them spin. With three hits one receives a drink, such as soda, punch or bottled water or a piece of candy. With two hits the individual receives a piece of candy.
“When I was a kid … the 4-H, it was their fundraiser,” she noted.
Simmons asked her brother-in-law, Roger Stuedle, build one this year.
“I drew a plan and he built it,” she added.
McKinney said she was glad the fair was back this year. She thought the fair had been taking place since the 1960s.
“It went for a long time, and then stopped, and started back up,” she added. “We started planning this in July, there was an amazing amount of community support. Everybody’s been coming out and chipping in, we’ve just had so much help.”
This year the fair also has a 2016 Otterville Fair Queen Grace Draffen, a junior at Otterville R-VI High School.
“We found out yesterday that she will be able to compete in the Missouri State Fair,” McKinney said. “She also won Miss Congeniality.”
“She’s just a sweet heart,” Maria Morrison said. “She wrote her own poem on bullying and read it. It was just great.”
“(The poem) is titled ‘Anti Bullying,’” Daffen said. “They told us, like before in our interviews, to kind of tell them a story, when you are doing it. So, I feel like my poem really justified that pretty well.
The coordinators said that later Saturday afternoon there would be a children’s parade, a frog jumping contest and turtle race. On Sunday they planned to close the fair with an outdoor church service.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.